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Greece – Saudi Arabia Relations Strengthened By Cultural Partnership

Greece - Saudi Arabia relations
Lina Mendoni and Prince Badhr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud discussing new avenues of cooperation in furthering Greece – Saudi Arabia relations. Credit: Saudi-Arabian Government

Greece – Saudi Arabia relations are becoming even more tight-knit as the countries agreed to a new cultural partnership according to information that emerged after a meeting between officials from the two nations on Thursday.

Lina Mendoni and His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, the Ministers of Culture for Greece and Saudi Arabia respectively, met together to establish new cultural forms of cooperation.

Greece – Saudi Arabia relations foster cultural closeness

The meeting was fruitful, and ended with both countries committed to signing a Memorandum of Cooperation in Riyadh during 2021. The new agreement will supplement an already very strong trade relationship of nearly $1 billion with the exchange of cultural goods, services, and skills.

Both countries agreed that this new tie between them would help bolster a sector amongst the nations that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. The officials noted that this cultural relationship would help ensure a return to growth for the $2.25 trillion global creative industry.

One of the main initiatives to come out of a strengthened Saudi-Greek cultural relationship are “Cultural Weeks.” These celebrations would be held in both countries, and could bring about collaborative events such as cultural heritage and art exhibitions and festivals.

Joint archaeological projects were also highlighted by the Ministers as a key area of collaboration, as it was noted that a historical relationship has existed between the cultures for over 2,000 years.

One of the most important parts of the Memorandum is a commitment that both nations are making to join forces to address issues of global concern. Greece and Saudi Arabia will strive to work together to protect tangible and intangible heritage, counter illicit trafficking of cultural property and manage the impact of climate change.

The Ministers of Culture also underlined their support for and admiration of the work of UNESCO.

Prince Badhr spoke highly of Greece and their relationship after the meeting, saying “As Saudi Arabia’s cultural transformation continues at pace, we welcome closer relations with our Greek friends.

“Both our countries have a deep and rich heritage, stretching back millennia, and a shared outlook on the positive power of cultural exchange and the need for its protection and preservation. As the Kingdom looks to share its culture with the world, Greece’s insight and experience has much to offer us.”  

Mendoni echoed his optimism, stating “We had an excellent discussion with H.H. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud on the establishment of permanent and close cultural relations and exchanges between our two Countries.

“We agreed to have Culture Weeks in the two countries and, within these weeks, to see the possibility of co-organizing exhibitions, either of archaeological or contemporary artistic creation. It was an extremely constructive cooperation which will be sealed and confirmed by a Memorandum of Cooperation, which will be signed in Riyadh in 2021.”

Saudi Minister’s trip to Europe

Prince Badhr held this meeting with Mendoni as part of his tour of Europe. He is slotted to visit both Italy and Greece, spending May 19 to 20 in Athens.

He is also expected to meet with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias during the visit.

The new cultural cooperation agreed upon by the two countries is only one part of Greek-Saudi relations which remain strong and stretch back centuries.

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