A high-ranking Greek official said that the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Greece would establish a strategic partnership between the two countries, in light of existing agreements that enhance cooperation in defense, security, economy and trade.
Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Giorgiadis told Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit would witness bilateral talks with the Greek prime minister to coordinate positions and sign cooperation agreements, pointing to the need to strengthening relations to enhance current and future partnerships.
Maximizing economic, commercial and investment cooperation
The Greek minister stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia’s new vital initiatives that promote the green economy and protect the environment, within the framework of Vision 2030.
He said that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Greek Development Bank (HDB) and the Saudi Public Investment Fund to facilitate investment in the two countries
Giorgiadis noted that cooperation between Greece and Saudi Arabia was based on a long legacy of relations that date back to several centuries.
“There are Greek companies investing in Saudi Arabia, while we found signs of a real desire by a number of Saudi companies to invest in Greece,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He added that the two countries have set up a joint investment forum in order to maximize economic, trade and investment cooperation.
“Our relationship is now at its best,” the Greek minister underlined.
He continued: “A few months ago, we signed a defense agreement with Saudi Arabia. It was the first time that Greece sent Patriot missiles to the Kingdom… to protect vital infrastructure in the field of energy.”
Giorgiadis added that it was the first Greek military presence outside the Mediterranean region in decades, except for operations within NATO.
Defense cooperation reflects the solidity of the bilateral relationship
The Greek minister pointed to important meetings with officials in the main sectors, noting that the investment forum that was held in Riyadh was attended by more than 200 participants, who represented the public and private sectors to discuss ways to push cooperation to broader horizons.
“On the investment level, we are working to attract Saudi investments to Greece and vice versa in various sectors, including tourism,” the minister said, adding: “We look forward in the near future to a huge Saudi investment in the sectors of renewable energy, cyber-security and agriculture. Through economic cooperation driven by military cooperation, we reach the highest level of bilateral strategic collaboration.”
The effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war on Europe are real
Regarding the Greek stance on the Russian-Ukrainian war and its impact on his country, Giorgiadis said: “Our position on the Russian war on Ukraine was clear. We denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a violation of international laws.”
He added: “Greece is part of Europe, which means that it is directly affected by the war.”
However, the Greek minister of Development and Investment underlined the necessity to find an alternative to Russian gas and energy sources to create a state of balance.
He said that Saudi Arabia was able to find a way to stabilize the global energy market, which confirmed the depth of Saudi-European relations.
Regarding the challenges posed by the wave of migrants and refugees, Giorgiadis said: “We have welcomed the Ukrainian refugees and we are working to arrange their situation. As for refugees from different parts of the world, especially from areas of conflict and war, including migrants from Africa, their case represents a great dilemma for Greece.”
Securing maritime navigation in the region
On the importance of securing maritime navigation in the region, the Greek official said: “With regard to the waterways, we are working with Saudi Arabia to secure maritime navigation, and we have already sent soldiers for this purpose. We will continue to defend the Kingdom, and we believe that we all have to work for the stability of the region.”