The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia maintains significant economic relations with Europe, primarily focused on oil trade and investments in various sectors
Oil trade is a crucial pillar, as it is a major supplier of oil to European countries. Additionally, Saudi investments cover areas such as energy, technology, infrastructure, and real estate in Europe. Economic relations also extend to non-oil sectors, with a growing demand for European products in Saudi Arabia.
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were established on July 17, 1996, and the Embassy of the Kingdom in Romania is accredited cumulatively for the Republic of Moldova. His Excellency, Dr. Mohammed Abdulghani M. KHAYAT, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Romania and the Republic of Moldova, with residence in Bucharest, presented his letters of credence in 2021.
Dr. Mohammed Abdulghani M. KHAYAT emphasizes in the interview the good bilateral relations and expresses the desire to develop them in various fields, including politics, economy, and culture. The interview also highlights the importance of collaboration in the field of science and research, with a focus on innovation and technology. Regarding mutual investments in 2023, Saudi Arabia has a plan to attract investments and support investors. In collaboration with the Republic of Moldova, efforts are being made to sign several agreements that will facilitate investments and economic cooperation.
“The bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Moldova are very good, but we always aspire to take these relations to an even higher level”
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were established in 1996, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Romania is cumulatively accredited for the Republic of Moldova. In this regard, how do you assess the level of economic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Moldova?
The bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Moldova are very good, but we always aspire to take these relations to an even higher level. When we talk about the relations between these two, we seek to create a balance between all sectors and work on each one together (in politics, economy, energy, agriculture, trade, or in other areas).
We might succeed in strengthening political relations faster than economic ones, or vice versa, but in the end, we work to fortify bilateral relations in various areas in a way that serves the interests of both countries.
The focus may shift at a certain stage to trade or cultural relations, then it may move to academic or technical relations and so on. We also work institutionally and rely on what the officials of both countries have achieved in the past, as well as on what the embassy has undertaken in recent years, which is cumulative. However, there is always room for development and improvement, and the method and path to achieve exemplary relations, which we hope to realize soon, may vary.
Are there real opportunities for the development of cultural, academic, or technical relations between these two countries?
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are interested in the field of science and research. His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Prime Minister, launched the new strategy of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which aims to translate science and scientific research into economically viable innovations, focusing on national priorities for research, development, and innovation, namely human health, environmental sustainability, renewable energy, and future economies. All of these, along with strengthening fruitful international and local partnerships, as well as partnerships with the private sector, contribute to achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.
The new strategy focuses on increasing opportunities to transform research into economically profitable innovations. This includes three main initiatives: the launch of the National Transformation Institute for Applied Research (NTI), the reorganization of university research institutes in line with national priorities for research, development, and innovation, and the establishment of the Deep Technology Innovation Fund (DTIF) with an estimated budget of 750 million riyals.
The fund aims to invest early in local and international high-tech companies to stimulate economic diversity.
“In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we have a plan to attract investments”
How do you characterize the opportunities for mutual investments in 2023, in the current economic context?
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we have a plan to attract investments, and the Ministry of Investments is doing an excellent job there, providing studies and information related to investment opportunities, full support by assisting with the steps and procedures required by the investor, and also supporting the investment itself by providing financing and offering complete infrastructure at reasonable prices, as well as opportunities to find a Saudi investment partner.
We aspire to increase the volume of investments in both countries. For this to happen, there must be reciprocal visits between their officials, as well as at the level of business people and Chambers of Commerce. We promise you that you will soon see this accomplished, which will lead us towards the desired goal of the two countries.
“There is cooperation between the two countries in this field, and currently, there are efforts to study and sign several agreements”
Your Excellency, please provide us with your assessment of the economic cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Moldova. Is there a plan of measures aimed at increasing the volume of trade exchanges and bilateral investments?
There is cooperation between the two countries in this field, and currently, efforts are being made to study and sign several agreements. In light of these agreements, there will be collaboration in the economic and investment sectors. This matter requires time and effort from both parties, which we are currently doing, cooperating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, as well as with other relevant authorities.
What are the main sectors in the Republic of Moldova where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers there are significant investment opportunities?
There are many areas in which the Kingdom is interested in investing, with the most important being food security and the export of cereals and live animals to the Kingdom.
How does the Government you represent assess the impact of the war in Ukraine on the relationship with the European Union?
The Kingdom supports international efforts to de-escalate tension, as well as the initiation of measures to ensure the return of stability and open the way for political discussions, towards a political solution to the war in Ukraine. In this regard, the Kingdom hosted a meeting of national security advisers to discuss means of peace in Ukraine.
The Kingdom supports all efforts aimed at resolving the crisis through dialogue and diplomacy and urges all parties to respect the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, especially the peaceful resolution of conflicts, refraining from the use of force or the threat of force, respecting the sovereignty and independence of states, as well as their territorial integrity.
Saudi Arabia has provided two aid packages to Ukraine worth 410 million USD. The Kingdom is a state of peace that has always hosted peace talks, presented peaceful solutions, and succeeded in resolving long-standing political dilemmas and wars. And the evidence is abundant, starting with the Taif Agreement for Lebanon, moving on to the end of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and reaching numerous meetings dedicated to the resolution of several international conflicts and crises.
To what extent are the relations between the two countries affected by the war in Ukraine?
The relationship between the two countries has not been affected by the Russo-Ukrainian war due to their mutual desire to come closer. The Kingdom has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. However, the Kingdom voted in favor of Resolution 141, which calls on Russia to completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine and to cease the violence.