Austria’s outgoing ambassador to Saudi Arabia called on Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar to bid farewell at the end of his tenure.
Gregor W. Koessler said issues of mutual interest were discussed and that the two top-level officials wished him success for the future.
“We reviewed the broad range of bilateral relations I was covering in my six-and-a-half years in the Kingdom,” the envoy told Arab News.
“I expressed my deep appreciation for the friendly reception in Saudi Arabia and the many friendships built on to connect our two countries even more.”
He wished King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the government and nation a prosperous and peaceful future, and every success for the Vision 2030 reform plan.
“We need to continue building bridges between our societies and making every effort for constructive dialogue.”
Koessler previously called on Austrian companies to ensure their “local presence” in the Kingdom for intensive engagement and promoting business. Saudi Arabia and Austria enjoy cordial ties. Last year, Austria pledged to ramp up cooperation in key commercial sectors with Saudi Arabia after a group of business leaders representing about 25 top-notch Austrian companies had wide-ranging talks with Saudi officials and businessmen.
The pledge came within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for forging partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the desired objectives of the vision.
The annual two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna is reportedly around SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion).
Many Austrian companies have been working closely with Saudi enterprises over the past decades, either as joint ventures or in close collaboration with the Saudi side on a number of projects. As of 2018, there were reportedly 20 joint ventures operating in different sectors.
Austria has been the fastest growing European tourist destination in the Middle East. The number of guests from the Middle East to Austria has increased by 400 percent in the last 10 years.
Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, director Middle East of the Austrian National Tourist Office, said: “In 2016, Austria welcomed 105,000 guests from the Kingdom.”