Greek Consul General Chronis Polychroniou celebrated the Greek National Day together with diplomats, dignitaries and friends of Greece at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Jeddah on Monday.
The evening's guest of honor was Ambassador Fareed Kamel Azhar, deputy director general of the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Makkah province.
Focusing on the country's economic recovery, Polychroniou stressed that his government's bold structural reforms had resulted in a 398 million euro primary surplus in January rather than the predicted 413 million euro primary deficit. The country’s competitiveness achieved a 75 percent recovery in the years 2010 to 2012, he said, adding that a full recovery was expected for the current year.
Given the historical and cultural ties — "not just of friendship, but often of brotherhood" - between Greece and Saudi Arabia, the envoy said his country aimed at upgrading its relations with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is gaining major importance in world affairs.
The two countries recently announced plans to set up a joint business council to deal with issues of mutual interest and give new momentum to their bilateral trade.
"In 2012, the volume of trade between Greece and Saudi Arabia reached 1.9 billion euros, with Greece recording almost 1 billion euro as bilateral trade deficit. These numbers show that an extra effort is needed to balance trade relations," Polychroniou said.
Opportunities for Greek exports to the Kingdom include agriculture, tourism, processed fuels, food products, and pharmaceuticals, while technological transfer, particularly in the field of aquaculture, has recently witnessed substantial growth.
The consul general also highlighted the vital importance of tourism for his country's economy. Tour operators in Greece, which is among the top 10 most visited countries worldwide, are currently promoting specialized packages targeting the Saudi and Gulf markets. Claiming that Athens is as close as Dubai from Jeddah, Polychroniou invited tourists to spend their holidays on one of the Greek islands this summer.
Source: Arab News, 27 March 2013