Riyadh, 14 July 2023 (TDI): The Special Representative of the European Union for the Gulf region, Luigi Di Maio, met with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Waleed A. Elkhereiji, on July 13 in Riyadh.
During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom and the European Union. They also discussed major developments of common interest in the Gulf region.
The two leaders exchanged their views on the issues of regional security, trade, and climate change. They highlighted the significance of expanding their humanitarian activities to address the emerging crisis in the region.
Moreover, they reaffirmed their commitment to advance their strategic partnership and cooperation based on respect and dialogue.
Bilateral Engagements with Saudi Leadership
Di Maio began his Riyadh visit on July 12, and met with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jasem Albudaiw, at the Council Secretariat.
The two parties discussed the arrangements for the forthcoming EU-GCC Joint Council, scheduled to take place in Oman in October. They emphasized the significance of this joint council as an important milestone in fostering their strategic partnership.
He also engaged in a conversation with Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, and explored the key opportunities for joint research in the Kingdom and the Middle Eastern region.
Later, Representative Di Maio met with the Ambassador of the European Union, Patrick Simonnet, and the fellow ambassadors of the EU Member States during his first visit to the region in this capacity.
He also enjoyed several Saudi delicacies at a local restaurant with the ambassadors.
During his interaction with Arab media, he expressed the EU and its member states’ strong support for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 social reform and economic diversification agenda. He stressed that Vision 2030 closely aligns with many of the EU’s own development projects.
The Representative also engaged in a conversation with the Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs, Khaled Al-Bayari. The two parties discussed various regional security dynamics and the effective role of the EU in supporting regional efforts for de-escalation and security.