Greece puts Russian assets on ice; strikes major agreement with Saudi Arabia

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Greece has commenced freezing the assets of Russian citizens named on an international list sent to all European Union countries and includes some 870 Russian nationals who own property (movable or immovable) and are active internationally, including in the United States and in EU member-states.

The list has been forwarded to the head of the relevant authorities in Athens dealing with money laundering.

Greek authorities have proceeded with seizures of assets including real estate in the southern suburbs of Athens and on the Greek islands, as well as bank accounts.

Meanwhile, amid the chaos of sanctions and energy uncertainty Greece was closer to finalising a major agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the Greek-Saudi Investment Forum in Riyadh Greece’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Openness Kostas Fragogiannis who was accompanied by delegations of ministers and businesspeople, Sauid underlined the two countries’ joint commitment to stability and peace in the area. “It is self-evident that both countries are always committed to international law, including the UN   Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and that both continuously condemn every terrorist act,” the Greek minister said.

Fragogiannis, who is following up on visit to the country by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in October 2021, said that bilateral relations have improved in the last 2.5 years, and that significant work has resulted. This includes the memorandum of cooparation between the state exports agency Enterprise Greece and the Saudi National Companies Promotion Program, which was signed in September in Athens, and the founding of the investment council between the two countries. “What we are preparing now is the completion of the bilateral agreement promoting investments,” he said.

The deputy minister said the ties of friendship and collaboration are not limited to politics, and mentioned an earlier visit where he was warmly received by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who also thanked Greece for the Patriot missiles. Addressing Saudi Investment Minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, he reiterated that during that meeting both sides had identified the sectors “which require our attention and where more work needs to be carried out.”

Sectors of interest for collaboration that he mentioned include renewable energy sources, logistics, maritime transport, tourism, culture, construction, agriculture, and shipping. “With us we have dozens of Greek businessmen, very successful ones, who are seeking further opportunities to expand collaboration,” Fragogiannis said, adding that “in the next two days they will meet with Saudi colleagues who share their vision.”

Fragogiannis spoke of Saturday’s visit by the government and business delegation to the antiquities site of Al Ula, which was fascinating and well organized. Addressing the Saudi investment minister, he noted that “your ambition to turn these treasures into an international tourism destination in the framework of ‘Vision 2030’ will come to fruition soon.”

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine during the last two weeks, Fragogiannis underlined that “during turbulent times it is even more imperative to keep our economies vibrant.”

Saudi investments minister: a lot of ground to grow

Greece and Saudi Arabia will celebrate a century of diplomatic relations in a few years, as Greece was one of the first countries to recognize the modern state of Saudi Arabia, the latter’s Investment Minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih said on Sunday.

Addressing the Greek-Saudi Investment Forum and delegations of Greek ministers and businessmen, the Saudi minister referred to his visit to Greece in September 2021 and termed the joint business forum a landmark in bilateral relations and investments, along with the agreement on maritime trade.

On bilateral trade in general, Minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih said that it is below expectations and opportunities. At present, 14 Greek companies in several sectors are active in Saudi Arabia, he noted, far below the abilities of both countries and of their business communities. The forum will allow both countries to build on what has been achieved and provide specific proposals to increase investments at both countries.

Some sectors of interest he noted for bilateral collaboration included tourism, logistics, shipping and maritime transport, energy, and construction. He singled out tourism which in Greece is impressive and a global leader, while Saudi Arablia has a huge potential to grow in the sector. In shipping and maritime transport, another sector where Greece is leading, there is potential in upgrading Saudi ports and improving the logistics network, as well as investing in the country.

Saudi Arabia is known as a global superpower in petroleum and he would like to see it lead in the renewable energy sources sector as well, as well as in the green energy sector. Both countries could collaborate well in this sector, he pointed out. Noting also the experience, specialization and strong presence of the Greek construction sector in international markets for over five decades, he spoke of the construction projects in his country.

The minister said Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” aims at placing the country among the 15 largest economies in the world.