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Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis’ speech at the 8th Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum (Athens, 28 November 2019)

Friday, 29 November 2019

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis represented the Prime Minister at the 8th Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum, which took place on Wednesday, 28 November 2019.

Referring to the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, which turns 40 this year, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that “it remains a milestone in Arab-Greek cooperation” that has significant mutual benefits for all business sectors.

In this context, he said, we are super-charging economic cooperation with the Arab world, emphasising the favourable environment the new government’s policy is creating to attract investments. Moreover, he stated, the Arab world is not only fertile ground for business opportunities, but also a space of major geo-economic cooperation for Greece.

Among other things, Mr. Varvitsiotis announced a new form of visa – the Business Visa – that will enable businesses to invite collaborators, partners, suppliers or importers of products to Greece, while also taking responsibility for the hosting, housing and departure of Business-Visa holders. “We are the second country in the European Union, after Italy, to establish such a visa, with the aim of facilitating these cases,” he added.

Additionally, our country wants to capitalise on the historically close and privileged ties it maintains with the Arab world in order to contribute to “shaping a two-way relationship between Europe and the Arab world. A relationship that respects the values, traditions and unique characteristics of each side, contributing towards a future of cooperation and understanding”.

Mr. Varvitsiotis also referred to the challenges in the Southeastern Mediterranean, where Greece has proven itself to be a pillar of stability, security and development, dealing responsibly and calmly with escalating provocations. It continues to act in accordance with International Law and the Law of the Sea, unlike its restless neighbour, whose actions are disruptive in the region, he underscored.

In the same context, and jointly with Cyprus, Greece has developed trilateral cooperation mechanisms with partners in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and, recently, the United Arab Emirates. He called these cooperation mechanisms very successful, as they are an innovative way to systematically promote political and economic cooperation throughout the region.

Finally, Mr. Varvitsiotis thanked Qatar for its support of the Mati wildfire victims.

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