Greece and Qatar sealed a 1.2-billion-euro (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) investment at "Hellenic Gold" mining company during Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani's visit to Athens on Saturday.
As a delegation of auditors from EU/International Monetary Fund lenders continue deliberations with Greek officials in Athens this weekend over the terms of the release of further funding to the debt-ridden country to avoid default, the Emir of Qatar held talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou over the prospects of Qatari investments in Greece.
The deal signed in the presence of the two leaders between Qatar Holdings and the Greek mining company "Hellenic Gold" for the investment is expected to create up to 1,500 job positions at the northern Greece mines.
"This agreement sends a message to the international community that Greece offers development opportunities, following the reforms implemented by the government," said Papandreou.
Arguing that Greece is a rich country that faces a debt crisis currently due to the bad management of its resources for years, the Greek Premier stressed that the country was focusing on a sustainable development strategy.
Papandreou also praised another deal announced a few weeks ago regarding the participation of Qatari investors in the merger of Greek banks Alpha Bank and Eurobank in efforts to strengthen the Greek banking sector.
"We have been through difficult times ourselves, but we managed to overcome challenges," said Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani on his part, expressing confidence in the cooperation with the Greek state.
Accompanied by the emirate's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar further expressed gratitude to Greece for the assistance offered to the rescue operation of Qatari officials from war-torn Libya.
On Saturday, the Qatari leader reiterated his country's strong interest in investment opportunities in the fields of tourism and energy, as well as the privatization program under way in Greece.