ATHENS – The official visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, to Greece and his meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Mansion underscores the strategic nature of Greece-Saudi Arabia relations, which was confirmed during the prime minister’s official visit to Riyadh in October 2021 and is expected to be sealed with the signing of a series of bilateral agreements in Athens, as well as the strong interest of the Saudi side in major investments in Greece, government sources said on Tuesday.
The same sources consider the fact that tonight’s visit of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Athens is the first visit by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to a European country since April 2018 is indicative of the importance that Riyadh attaches to relations with Greece, as a pillar of security and stability in the region.
The strategic nature of relations has also been sealed by Greece’s contribution to the defence of Saudi Arabia through the deployment of an array of Patriot missiles, a gesture that was appreciated in Riyadh, as was indicated during Mitsotakis’ visit to the Saudi capital, during which there was also an agreement to establish a Greece-Saudi Arabia High-level Cooperation Council.
In fact, the signing of the agreement to set up a Strategic Cooperation Council which will establish bilateral cooperation by sector is, according to government sources, a strong proof of the strategic character of the relations in the context of the government’s strategy for the formation of a network of alliances with Gulf countries. As highlighted by government sources, Mohammed bin Salman will be accompanied by a large government delegation consisting of the ministers of Investment, Trade, Communications and Technology and the head of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – whose members will sign and exchange agreements with their Greek counterparts.
Among the agreements to be signed between the Greek ministers and their Saudi counterparts are a military cooperation agreement, an energy cooperation agreement, as Greece is transformed into a hub for the transfer of energy to Europe and can be a bridge with the Middle East, an agreement in science and technology, as well as an agreement in culture.
The agreement to be signed by the four companies leading the “East to Med data Corridor” (EMC) project (STC, TTSA, PPC and Cyta) is of particular importance, so that the EMC project, the submarine and terrestrial cable interconnection for data transfer between Asia and Europe via Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and Greece, can be implemented as of next autumn. This is a project that essentially upgrades the position of our country as a hub for data storage and distribution in the region of Southeastern Europe, bringing tangible economic and geostrategic benefits.