Athens July 26 2022: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits Greece on Tuesday for talks with its premier, his first trip to a European Union nation since the 2018 killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi damaged the kingdom’s ties with the West.
The two countries will sign a number of bilateral agreements including in defense technology, maritime transport, food production and culture during the prince’s two-day stay, according to a person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity as the discussions are still private. Representatives from several Saudi businesses will explore potential partnerships, the person said.
The arrival of the crown prince -- Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader -- will build on a visit to the kingdom by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in October. Greece has sent Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia, which in recent years faced missile and drone attacks on its energy facilities by Houthi fighters in neighboring Yemen.
And in May, Greece and Saudi Arabia agreed to collaborate on an 800 million euro ($816 million) land and sub-sea data cable that will turn Greece into a digital hub connecting Europe and Asia. Athens and Riyadh have also set up a business council.
Prince Mohammed was vilified in the US and Europe following the murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
The crown prince has denied he had any involvement in the killing, while accepting symbolic responsibility for it as the country’s de facto ruler.
President Joe Biden vowed during his election campaign to turn the world’s biggest oil exporter into a pariah.
But in a sign of how the world has moved on, Biden fist-bumped with Prince Mohammed in Jeddah this month as the US leader hoped to encourage the Saudis to increase oil production in order to lower surging US gasoline prices.