RIYADH - The first meeting held by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Greek delegation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday was that with the Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment, Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi.
In a dialogue with Mitsotakis before the cameras, Al Qasabi said that the situation in Greece has improved significantly since Mitsotakis took office. "Uncertainty was a problem for Greece, the economic crisis and a number of other factors had created a cloud of uncertainty with a negative impact on entrepreneurship and investment, not only from the side of Saudi Arabia but also from other countries," he explained. Now, there were hopeful signs that they were returning, he added.
He also expressed great love for Greece and noted that, just a few months ago, the head of Saudi Arabia's international trade department was sent to visit Greece. He called on the prime minister to point out potential investment opportunities for the Saudis so that when a business delegation is sent to Greece it can explore these opportunities, meet the right people and understand what the new investment-friendly framework is, noting that he has heard that Greece supports the investment climate.
Στη συνάντηση με τον Υπουργό Εμπορίου και Επενδύσεων της Σαουδικής Αραβίας Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi συζητήσαμε εκτενώς τις δυνατότητες επενδύσεων Σαουδαραβικών κεφαλαίων στην Ελλάδα και τις ευκαιρίες για ελληνικές επιχειρήσεις στη Σαουδική Αραβία. https://t.co/deYS9zYDGM pic.twitter.com/bfivWkGX5z— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) February 3, 2020
"I think that this will be beneficial. Thank you for your kind words. I'm really glad to be in Saudi Arabia. After a long time a Greek prime minister pays an official visit at a time of great geopolitical and economic importance," Mitsotakis said.
"I am very pleased that you acknowledge that the investment climate in Greece has improved significantly over the last six months, which is also reflected in the capital markets but also in the greater interest of the international investment community to invest in Greece," the prime minister added.
Mitsotakis stressed that Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner in this endeavour and that, as the kingdom is making significant efforts to diversify its economic activity, "we consider that Greece is a prime target for foreign investment by Saudi businesses."
The Greek prime minister noted that Greece is also a good investment choice for the official state fund: "A lot has changed, it will be our great pleasure to welcome your delegation to Greece. Saudi Arabian business groups are already active in Greece, as I am sure you know, and to my knowledge they are quite pleased with the investments they have made. What I would like to note is that Greece will grow significantly in the coming years and therefore the earlier investments are made the better it will be for investors."
He added that Greece and Cyprus are the closest European countries to Saudi Arabia, with strong cultural and historical ties.
Mitsotakis explained that the moment is right for Saudi Arabia to mobilise funds for investment in Greece. "As you diversify your economy, let us look for opportunities for Greek businesses to expand their business in Saudi Arabia. There is a long history of Greek companies operating in Saudi Arabia," he pointed out.
During the meeting they discussed the possibilities of cooperation in the field of tourism and logistics. The Saudi side has asked for sharing of knowhow because it wants to organise tourist areas that do not have the restrictions that apply elsewhere. According to government sources, Saudis also want their country to become a logistics hub for the region, while they asked for a list of areas where Saudi Arabian capital can be invested.
Mitsotakis visits the National Museum of Saudi Arabia
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the National Museum of Saudi Arabia on Monday, where he is currently on a visit.
Mitsotakis toured the premises, admiring the exhibits and wrote in the guest book: "It was an honour to visit the National Museum of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Greece and Saudi Arabia share a culture that goes back in history. The ties between the two countries are historic and can only be strengthened."