Athens Tuesday took another step toward strengthening its relations with major players in the wider region of the Gulf, North Africa and the Middle East, with the visit to Saudi Arabia by the ministers of foreign affairs and defense, Nikos Dendias and Nikos Panagiotopoulos, who signed an agreement for the transfer there of Greek Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and the stationing of 100-120 Hellenic Air Force personnel.
Dendias pointed out that the transfer of the Patriots to Saudi Arabia is “our contribution to the wider security of the energy sources of the West” and stressed that “Greek foreign policy, which has the main goal of connecting the country with the Gulf countries, has taken another step forward.”
Greece is part of the multinational force that assists in the air defense of Saudi Arabia along with countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jordan and Pakistan.
The second agreement signed between Dendias and Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, was a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of consultations on issues of common interest, as both sides are seeking a scheme that will allow closer economic cooperation.
Commenting on the participation of Arab countries in recent military exercises carried out in Greece, Dendias said they “create a front of understanding on the solid basis of international law.”
He said that all countries in the wider region that subscribe to international law as a means of communication and as a way of behaving “are welcome to this broader understanding that we seek, which has tangible signs of success.”
As part of Greece’s aim to build strong regional alliances, Dendias also visited Cairo last week, while on Friday he was in the Cypriot town of Paphos to take part in the first quadripartite meeting of Greece, Cyprus, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.