By Andy Sambidge
Foreign Minister says project will include redevelopment of former Athens airport to create over 50,000 jobs
The UAE on Tuesday announced the launch of a $9.75bn investment project in Greece which will include the redevelopment of a former Athens airport.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Foreign Minister, said in comments published by news agency WAM that Abu Dhabi-based Al Maabar International Investment will execute the multi-phase project.
Sheikh Abdullah said the project is expected, when complete, to generate more than 50,000 job opportunities.
The 6.2 million square metre site will be developed over a number of years, with work expecting to begin in 2016.
Its built up area of approximately 3m sqm will include retail, residential, leisure, hotels and office space. The development offers 3.5km of coastline and a 2m sqm metropolitan park, which will be one of the world's largest.
Sheikh Abdullah also announced that Abu Dhabi Investment Council had made a bid for acquiring the luxury Astir Palace Resort, Athens, and that Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and Greece's Terna Energy would sign a framework agreement for exploring potential investment opportunities in the energy sector in Greece.
The minister announced the multi-billion dollar developments during his opening remarks at the second meeting of the UAE-Greece Joint Ministerial Committee in Athens, which he co-chaired with Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelo.
In his speech, Sheikh Abdullah emphasised that the UAE was eager to boost its economic, investment and trade relations with Greece.
"Greece is one of the key partners for the UAE, and I would like to confirm that the second meeting of the joint committee provides a precious opportunity to strengthen and leverage bilateral ties and to present practical ideas and solutions that could help in removing any obstacles hindering progress of these ties," he said.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.