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Saudi crown prince to visit Greece to sign energy, telecoms deals

mitsotakis and salman
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 3, 2020.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Greece on July 26 to meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek foreign ministry said on Friday, in his first visit to an EU country since the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The ministry said the pair were due to sign bilateral deals, without giving details. A Greek diplomatic source said the deals were in the fields of energy, military cooperation, and an undersea data cable, among others.

Greece and Saudi Arabia agreed in May on the main terms to set up a joint venture to lay the data cable that will link Europe with Asia. The “East to Med data Corridor” will be developed by MENA HUB, owned by Saudi Arabia’s STC and Greek telecoms and satellite applications company TTSA.

The visit will be closely watched after the killing of Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul sparked a furore in the West.

US intelligence concluded the crown prince directly approved the murder of the Washington Post columnist. The prince denies having any role in the killing.

Some Western leaders have since visited Riyadh, including US President Joe Biden last week, who said he confronted Prince Mohammed over the killing. Biden said the crown prince had said he had held those responsible to account.

France’s President Emanuel Macron and Mitsotakis also visited last year.

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