Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is visiting Greece on Tuesday met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and emphasized the strong relations between the two countries.
The Athens visit is the Saudi leader’s first trip to a European Union nation since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
“This is an opportunity to reaffirm the dynamic of our strategic relations,” Mitsotakis said to Mohammed bin Salman, adding that the two will also discuss “how to further enhance the significant relationship between our two countries, with a special emphasis on economic collaboration.”
The Saudi prince pointed out that his visit is a historic opportunity for the two countries and will lead to agreements in the fields of energy, renewables, and communications.
“We are also interested in hydrogen and how to turn Greece into a hub for Europe in terms of hydrogen, which is something that will change the parameters for both countries,” he noted.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince to Greece's Prime Minister:
"I promised you that when I come to Greece I will not come empty handed. We have a lot of stuff that are going to be game changer for both of countries and also for the whole region". pic.twitter.com/sbB6nJ1eFa
— e-Αmyna (@e_amyna) July 26, 2022
Mitsotakis was among Western leaders who have visited Riyadh since the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which sparked an outcry in the West and tainted the prince’s image as a reformist pushing to open up Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.
The trip comes less than two weeks after US President Joe Biden visited the Saudi city of Jeddah for a summit of Arab leaders and met one-on-one with Prince Mohammed, greeting him with a fist bump.
That move sealed Biden’s retreat from a presidential election campaign pledge to turn the kingdom into a “pariah” over the Khashoggi affair and wider human rights controversies.
Crown Prince is accompanied by a large Saudi delegation in Greece
The Crown Prince is accompanied by a large delegation of Saudi high-level officials and business people.
The two nations are expected to sign agreements between Greek and Saudi private business groups in the fields of maritime transport, aquaculture, waste management, culture, food and agricultural products, construction and defense technology.
The meeting follows the two business forums held this year, in Riyadh on March 13-14 and in Athens on May 30-31, confirming the will of both sides to further strengthen and deepen bilateral economic relations and cooperation.
In late May, Greece and Saudi Arabia agreed to collaborate on an 800-million-euro ($816 million) land and subsea cable creating a data link from Italy to Singapore.
The “East to Med Data Corridor,” an undersea and land data cable, will be developed by MENA HUB, owned by Saudi Arabia’s STC and Greek telecoms and satellite applications company, TTSA.
Greece’s power utility Public Power Company and Cyprus’ telecoms operator CYTA will also hold a stake in the project pending final corporate approvals. The deal was struck during the Greek-Saudi Business Forum held in Athens.