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Saudi Crown Prince pays unprecedented official tour to Europe

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, arrived in the Greek capital, Athens on Tuesday, on his tour that includes both Greece and France. The Saudi Crown Prince started a European tour, the first in years, days after a similar regional tour that included Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.

The Saudi Press Agency, “SPA,” said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left the Kingdom Tuesday, heading to Greece and France, where he will pay an official visit to the two countries.

The Saudi Royal Court said in a statement that, at the directive of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and in response to the invitations made to His Highness the Crown Prince, His Highness left today to visit Greece and France.

The Saudi Crown Prince’s tour, which includes Greece and France, aims to discuss ways of cooperation and consolidation of relations and each country’s vision of what is happening regionally and internationally, Ukraine and the energy crisis, in addition to some important files. His visit specifically to France comes after Arab visits, which began with the visit of President Emirati Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to France 10 days ago, followed by the visit of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the end of his European tour.

His visit to Greece included many fields, most notably energy, military cooperation, and maritime transport, which the Saudi Cabinet approved earlier this month, in addition to laying a marine communication cable linking Europe with Asia.

There is a common desire between Saudi Arabia and Greece, in terms of expanding the volume of military cooperation between Riyadh and Athens, especially after the latter’s decision in September 2021 to send the “Patriot” missile system to Saudi Arabia on loan and limited Greek forces affiliated with the 114 Combat Wing, numbering 120 soldiers, according to an agreement signed between the two countries in April 2021 to work on this equipment.

Dr. Tariq Fahmy, a professor of political science, said that the tour of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Europe is his first tour since 2018, which includes France and Greece.

The professor of political science pointed out that France represents the scope of the EU, and Prince Mohammed’s visit will have great repercussions, which indicates Saudi Arabia’s position in providing gas supplies to Europe in light of the continuation of the current international crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

On the other hand, the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France in 2018 witnessed the signing of 19 protocols and agreements between French and Saudi companies with a total value of more than $18 billion, which included industrial sectors such as petrochemicals and water treatment, in addition to tourism, culture, health, and agriculture.

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