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Germany's Scholz: Mongolia an important strategic partner

October 15, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene to Berlin Friday for discussions on increased cooperation. Raw materials and energy diversification were key topics.

Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene (left) and Olaf Scholz shake hands at a podium at their press conference in Berlin. October 15, 2022.
Scholz and Mongolia's Oyun-Erdene discussed intensifying cooperation amid Russia's war in Ukraine, an issue where Mongolia has sought to remain neutralImage: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene to Berlin Friday, where the two leaders discussed a number of issues pertaining to energy cooperation and the sourcing of raw materials.

"Cooperation with democracies like Mongolia is of strategic importance for Germany," said Scholz, noting that Berlin was keen to reduce its dependence on single states, especially regarding natural resources.

"In our diversification strategy, Mongolia will become an important partner for many raw materials," the chancellor said, pointing to the examples of copper and rare earths.

Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene, who said Germany was his country's biggest trading partner in the EU, voiced a desire to increase energy and infrastructure cooperation, as well as expressing interest in exchange in the areas of defense and culture.

Scholz and Oyun-Erdene, who said his country was improving the legal framework for investment, announced that some 1,000 Mongolian engineers would receive educational training in Germany in the near future.

Mongolian PM sits down for exclusive DW interview

Oyun-Erdene on Friday sat down for an exclusive interview with DW in which he acknowledged that, "energy dependency is an issue in Germany and Mongolia; it's becoming a global problem."

Mongolia, which is situated between Russia and China, is currently negotiating with both over the construction of a pipeline that would see Russian gas transported through Mongolia to China.

Asked about the so-called Power of Siberia 2 project, Oyun-Erdene said that it was currently "still in the research phase."

He said no final agreement had been reached and that China had yet to agree to the current estimated cost of the pipeline, saying, "there is no agreement on this matter."

'Every country in the world will suffer'

Mongolia seeking to remain neutral on Russian invasion of Ukraine

A related topic that Oyun-Erdene and Scholz discussed Friday was Russia and the war in Ukraine. Speaking with DW he expanded.

First and foremost, he said, Mongolia believes, "countries should resolve their issues in a peaceful way."

Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene told DW that both Germany and China could help negotiate a peaceful outcome to the conflict.

Oyun-Erdene noted that the world had no choice but to talk to Putin, saying the situation was simply too grave not to, "if this war situation continues indefinitely, no country in the world will gain."

He also spoke of Mongolia's efforts to create a legal framework to protect thousands of Russians who have fled to his country in an effort to avoid being conscripted into the Russian army and sent off to Ukraine.

Mongolians in Russia, for instance, are among those ethnic groups being most heavily drafted for Russian President Vladimir Putin's war of aggression.

Mongolia has remained neutral since Moscow's February 24 invasion began, even abstaining from a recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote on "defending the Charter of the United Nations" and supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity — by condemning Russia's recent unilateral declaration of its annexation of several Ukrainian regions.

Germany's Foreign Office had called the vote a tally that made it clear to the world who was "on the wrong side of history," albeit without clarifying whether it was referring to those voting against the resolution, those abstaining, or both.

js/msh (dpa, Reuters)