After Saudi stop, Germany' Merkel heads to neighboring UAE

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) before their official talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This also isn't the first time Merkel has visited the kingdom without covering her hair.

On her tour to a number of Middle Eastern countries, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, made an official visit to Saudi Arabia and was received by the Saudi King, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

She had said that it should be banned, wherever it is legally possible.

Her meetings in the Emirates, which includes the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai, would include discussion of a free-trade agreement between the Gulf states in the European Union and "how we can move ahead and intensify our economic relations still further", she said.

German newspaper Deutsche Welle reports that the country's exports to Saudi Arabia were worth more than half a billion euros in 2016 alone.

"When Chancellor Merkel arrives in Saudi Arabia, Raif will have served half his imprisonment term, which makes him qualify for a royal pardon, " his wife, Ensaf Haider, said.

Saudi Arabia wants German companies Siemens and SAP to play an important role in furthering the kingdom's "digital transformation", company officials said.

Chancellor Merkel chose not to cover her hair or wear a traditional flowing black robe upon arrival in the kingdom, which has a strict dress code for women.

Germany has provided refuge to hundreds and thousands of people from war-struck zone over the recent years, including those from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Merkel herself backs a ban in Germany on civil servants wearing face veils and on face covers being worn in public schools and courts and by vehicle drivers.

"Saudi women police personnel will not be sent to Germany for training".

"While the rule of thumb for Saudi women and female Muslim expats was to wear the head scarf, that is no longer the case with this new generation of Saudi women who pretty much wear what they want, often including a modified version of the abaya", Jahwar told HuffPost in an email.

Her series of meetings form part of the build-up 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.

Haller said the business meeting at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce organized during the visit of Merkel shed light on the plans and policies of the Saudi government within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030. For more than two years, the kingdom has been bombing Yemeni rebels aligned with Saudi Arabia's regional Shiite rival, Iran. While there is no German moratorium on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, the German government does review deals on a case-by-case basis to ensure any military equipment sold can not be used for internal repression.