German official: The West needs Saudi Arabia as a partner

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2015 5:25 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's vice chancellor says the West needs Saudi Arabia as a partner in solving conflicts in Syria and elsewhere, but is criticizing Saudi financing of ultraconservative mosques abroad.

Germany's intelligence agency last week published a report suggesting that Saudi Arabia's ambitious defense minister could endanger the kingdom's ties with regional allies, an assessment the government distanced itself from.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was quoted Sunday as telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that "it doesn't help to pillory the country every day, because that won't exactly increase its readiness for serious negotiations in Syria."

However, Gabriel added "we must also make clear to the Saudis that the time for looking away is over." He cited Saudi financing worldwide for mosques embracing the country's strict Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam.