RIYADH – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is on a six-day official visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Tuesday to Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.
The respective visits are at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
PM Lee will also attend the Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh on Friday, where leaders from both regions will discuss ways to strengthen relations and expand cooperation to new and emerging areas such as the green and digital economies.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of the GCC, which also comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
While in Saudi Arabia, PM Lee will call on Crown Prince Mohammed and meet Saudi leaders, the PMO said.
He will be briefed on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and attend a reception for overseas Singaporeans.
Apart from Riyadh, PM Lee will also visit historical and cultural sites in the cities of Madinah and Al Ula.
While in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, PM Lee will call on Sheikh Mohamed and meet the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Khaled.
He will also visit the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for a briefing on the UAE’s energy transition plans.
While in Dubai, PM Lee will meet Emirati leaders and attend a reception for overseas Singaporeans.
Singapore enjoys warm bilateral ties with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The UAE is Singapore’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, while Saudi Arabia is the second largest.
In 2022, the UAE was Singapore’s 13th largest trading partner globally, with bilateral trade in goods coming in at $29.8 billion.
High-level exchanges are also frequent, and PM Lee met Sheikh Mohamed on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit in New Delhi in September.
As for Saudi Arabia, total bilateral trade in 2022 stood at $14 billion.
Since 2022, there have been 15 ministerial-level visits between Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
PM Lee and Crown Prince Mohammed also met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in November 2022.
In Saudi Arabia, PM Lee will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Education Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing, Social and Family Development Minister Masagos Zulkifli, who is also Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry.
In the UAE, PM Lee will be accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Maliki Osman, who is also Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education, Dr Tan, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment and Transport Amy Khor, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health Janil Puthucheary.
In PM Lee’s absence, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong will be acting prime minister.
Source : TheStraitsTimes