The President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos will be in Saudi Arabia on a two-day official visit on February 21-22 at the invitation of King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
The Greek president will be accompanied by numerous ministerial delegations including Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. The visit to Saudi Arabia, comes a few months after the visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Greek in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Pavlopoulos’ visit to Saudi Arabia, confirms the very good relations between the two countries and the development of a new framework for cooperation in areas of common interest such as security, terrorism, immigration, energy, the petroleum and construction sector.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and the Custodian of the two most sacred pilgrimage sites for the Muslim world, the cities of Mecca and Medina. The official title of the King of Saudi Arabia is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
After the events of the Arab Spring and the bloody riots in other countries of the Arab World, such as Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria, uprisings and protests in the case of Saudi Arabia were much smaller in size and passion. They were contained to requests relating to the internal affairs of the country and these were followed with a series of measures providing more benefits, such as facilities for providing soft loans for the construction of new houses or the repair of old, a pay increase for civil servants and an increase of allocated allowances for unemployed citizens.
Also with a view to promoting civil rights, the Saudi Arabia Government in September 2011 proceeded to national elections to fill half the seats in the kingdom’s 285 municipal and community councils, however they exert little influence on the country’s political scene and in decision making. Also at the same time it was announced that women will be able to vote as well as run in regional elections.
Saudi Arabia holds the first place in oil and gas production with 25% of global oil. While the government continues to implement a series of economic, social and business reforms, particularly from 2005 onwards, when it became a full member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and followed a policy of attracting more foreign investment in the country.
Despite the economic problems that arose with the oil crisis, Saudi Arabia remains a powerful economic country with important influence in the Muslim world which makes it an interesting partner for Greece, as its multidimensional and active foreign policy concerns both the Arab and Muslim world and the Gulf states are important political and economic partners. This also became clear from the initiatives undertaken by the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, both from the International Conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East,” and the Rhodes Conference for Peace and Security which was attended by European and Arab countries.
On the sidelines of the two-day visit by the Greek President bilateral meetings will take place between ministers of the two countries.
It’s worth noting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, returned from Saudi Arabia, a few days ago. Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar./ΙΒΝΑ
This article was originally published in: BalkanEU.com