SINGAPORE – Renewable energy and the green economy are among the areas where Singapore and Saudi Arabia can foster closer cooperation.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal Farhan Al Saud both agreed on this as they reaffirmed the warm and long-standing ties between the two countries and commemorated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

Dr Balakrishnan was in Riyadh on an official visit from Saturday to Monday, on the invite of Prince Faisal.

“Saudi Arabia and Singapore both have strategic positions between Asia and Europe. There are many opportunities for us to cooperate in dynamic growth areas including transport, logistics, energy, technology and the digital economy,” said Dr Balakrishnan on Facebook.

During the visit, Dr Balakrishnan also conveyed a letter of invitation from President Halimah Yacob to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to make an official visit to Singapore.

Dr Balakrishnan also had a meeting with Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and member of the council of ministers Adel Al Jubeir, and had a discussion on global and regional developments, including energy markets and climate change.

Dr Balakrishnan met Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Nasser Al Jasser, who is the co-chair of the Saudi-Arabia Singapore Joint Committee (SSJC).

Both ministers noted the complementarities between the two economies and welcomed closer cooperation in areas such as logistics services and renewable energy.

The ministers affirmed SSJC as a useful platform to broaden bilateral cooperation and they looked forward to the convening of the next meeting in Singapore later this year.

Dr Balakrishnan also met the secretary-general of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), Dr Nayef Al Hajraf, and both noted the strong foundation for cooperation set in place by the GCC-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement, which was introduced in 2013, encouraged greater exchanges between the GCC and Singapore as well as with Asean in areas of mutual interest like food security and education.

Dr Balakrishnan also met Royal Court advisor Fahad Al Toonsi, where he welcomed opportunities for mutual exchange in developing the respective public services and expanding human capital development challenges for a future-oriented economy.