Saudi Arabia keen to strengthen ties with Greece

Adel al-Jubeir

Adel al-Jubeir

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir was welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Wednesday at the Presidential palace.

The Saudi Minister who is on an official visit to Athens to strengthen bilateral ties with Greece, also met with the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

Adel al-Jubeir, said his country's "vision is to collaborate in all sectors, (...) as we agree on several issues and in international organisations," and emphasised the sectors of trade and economy as being of special interest and also expressed appreciation for Greece's role in the region and the EU and said his country "tries to strengthen this partnership linking the two countries."

On his part, the Greek President stated that Saudi Arabia serves as a basic communication channel between Greece and the Arab world and that "Greece recognises the unique role Saudi Arabia plays in the stability of the Arab world,"adding that this is one of the reasons Greece places such emphasis on its relations with Saudi Arabia, which "is one of the basic channels of communication Greece has with the Arab world."

Greece and Saudi Arabia can do better in trade and investments, visiting Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in a press conference on Wednesday, as "the size of investment and trade relations does not correspond to the closeness of the two countries."

The Saudi Minister said that "Greek businesses are active in Saudi Arabia in several sectors, as, correspondingly, our businesses in Greece are, and we want to see how we can expand and enrich this relationship." He particularly pointed out the sectors of tourism, culture, antiquities, defense industry, energy and shipping as providing "huge opportunities".

Al-Jubeir also spoke of similar points of view shared between the two countries, and said "it's time to activate this very friendly relationship." Among the common stance held by both Greece and Saudi Arabia, he noted, were that "we both want a resolution to the Syria issue, the Israel-Palestine conflict, in Lebanon, we both want to restrict Hezbollah, radicalization, and ISIS, and we are both against Iran's involvement in the affairs of other regional countries."

Among other things, he said Saudi Arabia opposed Turkey's invasion of Syria and considered Turkey responsible for negative repercussions of this, including a rise in terrorism.

He also referred to his country's Vision 2030 plan to remain the main provider of energy in the world, but reduce its dependence on oil, by calling for investments in technology and renewable energy sources, he noted.