Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih is unlikely to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, the latest high-ranking official to plan on skipping this year’s gathering, according to people with knowledge of his plans.
The minister’s travel plans are still in flux, so it’s still possible, albeit unlikely, he makes a flying visit to Davos on Friday, the people said, asking not to identified because his schedule is private.
The Davos forum was set to host talks between Al Falih and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, their first face-to-face meeting since the two energy bosses orchestrated a new Opec+ output agreement in Vienna in December.
The ministers planned to discuss the progress of the deal’s implementation, Novak said last Thursday, shortly after Al Falih criticised the pace of Russian production cuts. The Russian energy minister is still listed among speakers at the energy panel on Friday.
Saudi Arabia has used the forum in recent years to pitch for foreign investment. Saudi Aramco, which Al Falih chairs, holds an annual reception at Davos and the world’s biggest oil producer will be looking to drum up investor support for its first major international bond issue later this year.
A number of world leaders have already decided to skip Davos this year. US President Donald Trump called off his attendance earlier this month due to the government shutdown and cancelled the trip of the entire US delegation. High-ranking US officials were expected to hold negotiations with China ahead of a 90-day cease-fire in their trade war.
Among the global leaders that also cancelled their visit to this year’s forum are UK Prime Minister Theresa May and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Davos will still host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro.