German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds talks with Saudi leaders Sunday on the fight against the Islamic State and global warming as she steps up her diplomatic campaign ahead of the July Group of 20 summit.
Merkel's one-day visit to the Saudi port city of Jeddah is to be followed by talks on Monday in United Arab Emirates with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday.
Her series of meetings form part of the buildup to the G20 meeting of the leaders of major and emerging economies, which Merkel is to chair in the northern German port city of Hamburg in July.
Both Russia and Saudi Arabia are G20 member states. Berlin currently holds the G20 presidency.
Accompanied by a high-ranking business delegation, Merkel's talks in Saudi Arabia will also focus on Yemen with the chancellor backing a United Nations call for a truce and a political solution to the nation's brutal civil war, officials in Berlin said.
While the chancellor is expected to press her Saudi hosts for further efforts at reducing trade barriers, armament projects are not on the agenda at the talks, officials said.
However, in her talks in Jeddah with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayf, Merkel wants to raise questions about human rights as well as the role of women in the country, where women are forbidden to drive a car.
The wife of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose imprisonment and public lashing provoked an international outcry, has also called on Merkel to seek a pardon for him when she visits the kingdom.
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