Saudi crown prince on first EU visit since Khashoggi’s murder

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Greece on his first visit to a European Union country since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi prompted widespread international condemnation in 2018. .

Bin Salman, who is traveling with a large government and business delegation, has met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and will attend the signing of a series of bilateral defense and investment agreements.

Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist in the US, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body was boned, according to Turkish officials.

A US intelligence report, released last year, said the crown prince may have approved the killing but he has denied any involvement.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is signing several bilateral agreements in Athens (Greece Prime Minister’s Office via AP) (AP)

Greece has forged close ties with Saudi Arabia in recent years as it seeks allies in the wider region to resolve longstanding tensions with neighboring Turkey, mainly is about maritime boundaries and drilling rights.

Last year, Greece and Saudi Arabia held joint military exercises off the Greek island of Crete, and Athens lent the kingdom a missile battery from the Patriot air defense system.

“I promise you that when I come to Greece, I will not come empty-handed. We have many issues that will change the game for our whole country and for the whole region,” Bin Salman is quoted as saying in a transcript of his remarks distributed by the government to reporters. .

He said the two countries were working on a project that would make “Greece the center of Europe for hydrogen (fuel),” but gave no further details.

Mohammed bin Salman at Athens’ Acropolis Museum (Greece Prime Minister’s Office via AP) (AP)

Journalists were not invited to the meetings and were not given the opportunity to ask questions of the visiting Saudi royal family.

The two countries are also planning a €800m (£675m) data cable link that will reportedly run under the Mediterranean Sea and be completed by 2025.

The Saudi prince’s trip to Greece follows his meeting earlier this month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with US President Joe Biden.

Mr. Mitsotakis visited Saudi Arabia last October and met the crown prince, who has also subsequently received visits from French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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