Muscat – Greek Foreign Minister Nikolaos Georgios Dendias, who is on a short official visit to Oman, asserted the importance of ties between Muscat and Athens, and said more interaction is needed to boost trade and identify areas of collaboration between the two countries.
In his interaction with media personnel at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday after signing a memorandum of understanding with H E Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi, Foreign Minister, Dendias said, “We need more interaction at the trade level and to identify areas of cooperation between the two countries for stronger bilateral relations. The MoU signed today will initiate the process and take us where we are supposed to be. This is our first step to our future plans.”
He informed that his visit is aimed at enhancing ways of diplomatic contacts and bilateral consultations between the two countries. “Geographically, it may seem that the two countries are far away but not really. We are four hours away by flight but we serve many things in common.
“These include our commitment to uphold world peace, stability and prosperity. As a maritime nation, Greece is very interested in the fundamental right to freedom of navigation.”
Dendias informed that Greece would like to encourage Greeks to visit Oman and Omanis to visit Greece. “We believe people-to-people contact is important. Business people from Oman and Greece have to know each other more in order to improve relations further. And if common experiences are shared, then the rest will follow one by one. It is time to flesh out our very good relations. I believe the sky is the limit,” he added.
On trade relations, Dendias said, “Let me be frank. The level of our trade is totally unacceptable. It is less than €25mn. It is a joke. And it is our fault, both countries, because we did not look into each other. But let us not look into the past. We have agreed that I am going to send my Undersecretary for Economic Affairs and will look to discuss how Greece can invest in Oman and vice versa.
“This is in addition to business-to-business meetings. We will work together and we have to realise that there is huge scope for improvement from where we are now. There is so much we can do more.”
Dendias said that Greece believes in supporting countries that uphold the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which Oman signed 30 years back. “Greece is also with Oman for peaceful resolution of issues through dialogue like we did for Albania, Egypt and Italy. The same is done by Oman in resolving issues peacefully in this very important part of the world, mainly the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” he said.
“I also condemn terrorism activity in any country, lately in Saudi Arabia and especially on civilian targets. We have also expanded cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council of which Oman is a proud member.”
H E Sayyid Badr described the talks held between Oman and Greece as ‘positive’.
He added that the talks touched on a wide spectrum of cooperation opportunities in various spheres, particularly in economic and investment fields.
The meeting “discussed many agreements and memoranda of understanding that the two sides are willing to sign in the future. These agreements cover fields of civil aviation, trade and investment to bolster economic cooperation between the two countries,” H E Sayyid Badr said.
He informed that said various issues of common interest also came up for discussions so as to achieve further stability and security in the region and the world at large. He affirmed that the talks between the two sides shared identical views, which back endeavours to deepen understanding and to resolve regional and international issues.
During his visit, Dendias also meet the Minister of Royal Office of Oman, H E General Sultan bin Mohammed al Nu’amani, and Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, H E Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy.
Their talks focused on strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, the Gulf region and on cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Visa waiver agreement and MoU on political consultations inked
Oman and Greece signed an agreement on mutual visa waiver for holders of diplomatic, special and service passports at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
The agreement was signed by H E Sayyid Badr Hamad al Busaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman, and Nikolaos Georgios Dendias, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding for political consultations between Oman and Greece.