Saudi Arabia took over the presidency of the G20 for a year as the new foreign minister of the country, a man with diplomatic experience in the West, arrived in Nagoya city in Japan on Friday to speak with his 20-nation counterparts.
Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud was assigned in a partial cabinet reshuffle in October, join a new royal generation in their 40s who came to power under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, 34.
King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz hailed the G20 presidency of the kingdom as evidence of its key role in the global economy.
At a ceremony in Nagoya on Saturday, where G20 foreign ministers met for negotiations, Prince Faisal picked up the baton.
According to IMF trade data, Japan–which led the G20 this year–was last year's second-largest export market in the Kingdom at $33 billion.
In addition to focusing on Saudi oil, the Japanese business company SoftBank Group has deepened its ties to the Kingdom. Riyadh was a major supporter of the huge Vision Fund of SoftBank.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Prince Faisal that he was glad to meet him for the first time and that, according to a read-out from Japan's foreign ministry, both sides wished to improve relations.
Motegi lauded Saudi progress on stabilizing southern Yemen, where Riyadh negotiated a deal to resolve a power struggle between Yemen's regime, which he supports, and southern separatists.
King Salman also said this week that Riyadh wants a political settlement in Yemen, wherein a nearly five-year war it fought Iran-aligned Al Houthis.
A diplomatic source said in recent weeks that there has been an "apparent de-escalation" in the conflict in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is planning more than a dozen G20 summits on tourism, agriculture, energy, environment and digital economy throughout the year, diplomats said.
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