Closer ties need to develop between Brussels and Riyadh, said Interior Minister Nikos Nouris, in the wake of financial repercussions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Strengthening relations between the EU and Saudi Arabia is more imperative now,” the minister noted during his visit to the Saudi capital and talks with his counterpart Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz.

The meeting was arranged as a follow up to President Nicos Anastasiades’ official visit last month, cut short by the Ukrainian war.

Nouris expressed the Republic’s support to strengthening cooperation between the gulf state and the EU, stressed friendly bilateral relations and an intention to further deepen ties.

The two ministers agreed to launch consultations at a technocratic level with the goal of signing a memorandum of agreement on issues relating to their ministries.

They discussed civil protection matters, such as citizen evacuations following crises and natural disasters, as well as security and immigration.

Nouris further reiterated Nicosia’s support to Saudi Arabia’s candidacy for EXPO2030.

The Saudi interior minister will be visiting Cyprus in the near future.

Nouris was also in Beirut earlier in the week where he met his counterpart Bassam Mawlawi and expressed thanks to the neighbouring country for its close cooperation in dealing with immigration flows, in line with a relevant agreement.

The Lebanese official expressed his country’s intention to strengthen this cooperation, both in immigration as well as other areas of common interest and thanked Nouris for Cyprus’ humanitarian assistance, following the August explosion at Beirut port.