Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera, wearing an obligatory veil, arrive in Riyadh. Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera, wearing an obligatory veil, arrive in Riyadh.

Mexico strengthens ties with Middle East

President Peña Nieto is on a four-country tour of the region

Mexico is in the process of establishing stronger ties with the Middle East this week, as President Enrique Peña Nieto is on a four-country tour in the region.

During the president’s visit to the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh, nine agreements were signed to encourage cooperation in tourism, energy, taxation, technology and fighting organized crime.

Another 13 accords were signed today in the United Arab Emirates during the first official visit ever made to that country by a Mexican head of state.

Those agreements covered cooperation in energy, protection of investments, the petroleum industry, environmental protection, combating climate change and education.

Upon arriving in the Middle East Saturday, Peña Nieto said via his Twitter account that the objective of the visit was to seek a broader and deeper mutual understanding and attract investments that would generate employment.

Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell said that Mexico was particularly interested in the Middle East’s large investment funds.

During a ceremony in Riyadh, Peña Nieto and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman swapped honors. The latter was presented with the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor that can be presented to a foreigner for service to Mexico and humanity.

The king presented Peña Nieto with the King Abdulaziz Medal, which recognizes service to the kingdom by either its citizens or foreigners.

The visit to Saudi Arabia was the first in 40 years by a Mexican president.

Peña Nieto will also travel to Kuwait and Qatar before leaving the region to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Source: EFE (en), El Universal (sp), Arab News (en)

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