Saudi Arabia is set to take over the G20 presidency for a year, as announced during a foreign ministers meeting on Saturday. The kingdom’s new foreign minister, a prince with diplomatic experience in the West, landed in Japan’s Nagoya city on Friday to meet with his counterparts from the Group of 20 nations.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud was appointed in October in a partial cabinet reshuffle, joining a new generation of royals in their 40s who rose to power under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 34, the de facto ruler of the world’s top oil exporter.
King Salman has hailed the Kingdom’s G20 presidency as proof of its key role in the global economy. Saudi Arabia will reveal the details of their G20 Presidency program on Dec. 1, 2019. The program seeks to support innovation globally, achieve prosperity, empower the people of the world and conserve the earth, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Prince Faisal will pick up the baton at a ceremony on Saturday in Nagoya, where G20 foreign ministers have gathered for talks. Japan which headed the G20 this year was the kingdom’s second-largest export market last year, at $33 billion, according to IMF trade data. Apart from its reliance on Saudi oil, Japan has deepened its ties to the kingdom thanks to Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group. Riyadh has been a big supporter of SoftBank’s massive Vision Fund.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Prince Faisal he was pleased to meet him for the first time and both sides wanted to boost relations, according to a read-out from Japan’s foreign ministry. Motegi praised Saudi work to stabilize southern Yemen, where Riyadh orchestrated a deal to end a power struggle between Yemen’s government, which it backs, and southern separatists.
Diplomats said that Saudi Arabia plans more than a dozen G20 summits throughout the year on tourism, agriculture, energy, environment and digital economy. A share sale of giant Saudi state oil firm Aramco this month and a bond sale earlier this year under a drive to diversify the largest Arab economy away from oil attracted interest in the traditional sectors of energy and finance.