Greece promotes dialogue of civilizations
On March 25, Greeks all around the world celebrate the beginning of their struggle to achieve the establishment of the modern Greek state, a struggle that carried the message of freedom around the world, paving the way to freedom for other peoples as well.
On the occasion of the Greek National Day, I wish to extend to my fellow Greeks who reside in Saudi Arabia, my congratulations on this momentous day.
We enjoy a close political and economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Our positions on core issues are identical, as both countries do their utmost to promote stability, while there is remarkable progress on the fields of economic cooperation. 2017 is the year of high-profile visits of top Greek officials in Saudi Arabia and vice versa.
ProkopisPavlopoulos, president of the Hellenic Republic, paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago.
During his stay, he met King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, a number of ministers as well as other top officials.
The visit confirmed the excellent level of bilateral relations.
The success of this visit was one more indication of the close historical, political, cultural and economic relations between Greece and Saudi Arabia, which go back to Antiquity.
For Greece, Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Arab world, a country that enjoys remarkable stability.
This is why we consider Saudi Arabia, a pillar of stability for the entire region, as well as a major factor in the cooperation between the Arab world and the European Union.
In this framework, Greece and Cyprus, as the closest European countries to the Arab world, from a geographic as well as cultural point of view, have a role to play in this cooperation, which will bring even more peace and prosperity to both Europe and the Arab Peninsula.
As part of these efforts, we also aim to upgrade our relations with the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, given its role and importance on a global scale.
This is why the president of the Hellenic Republic reiterated the message, which Greece has conveyed so many times: Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood, one that should never be associated with violence.
We have supported the dialogue of civilizations and we will continue to do so, as a member of the European family, but also as close and historical friends of the Arab world.
The global crisis affected Greece in a hard way.
Over the past seven years, Greek people have shown incredible stamina, signaling their commitment to lead their country out of the economic crisis. Nevertheless and despite hard austerity measures, Greece remains among the 30 top countries, in the national wealth index.
Furthermore, Greece is, now more than ever, an attractive tourism destination.
Last year we hosted more than 25 million tourists and we expect more this year.
This is indicative of the strength of Greece as a brand name, placing it among the most popular world destinations.
Greece is changing. A lot of reforms have taken place, in innovation, technology, energy and other areas.
Also, our activities in traditional sectors are still getting stronger. Greek Merchant Marine remains the leading factor at a global level and Greece is ranked first in ship-ownership.
Saudi Arabia is also undertaking efforts for economic and social reforms, paving the way for the country in a new economic environment.
Both countries find themselves on the path of reforms and both are open to economic cooperation.
Our goal is to further enhance this cooperation, and I believe our efforts in this field are beginning to yield results.
We should not forget the activities of Greek companies in Saudi Arabia, for more than 50 years, as well as the presence of Greeks, helping Saudi Arabia to develop its know-how in areas such as construction, medicine, sciences etc.
In conclusion, I wish to express my hope and conviction that Greek-Saudi relations, based on solid foundations for so many years, will continue to grow and develop steadily in the service of the friendship and progress of our countries and peoples.