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Qatar eyes $5 bln of investment deals in Greece

Qatar signs draft deal to invest up to $5 bln in Greece

September 24, 2010 12:51 by

Greek and Qatari officials signed a framework deal that paves the way for the Gulf emirate to invest $5 billion in the euro zone’s most indebted country, Greek officials said on Friday.

A non-binding memorandum of understanding was sealed late on Thursday in New York between Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) executive Ahmad Al Sayyed and Harris Pamboukis, Greece’s state minister in charge of investment.

“This memorandum states explicitly Qatar’s interest to invest up to $5 billion in Greece,” deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis told state television NET.

Greece has become increasingly reliant on foreign investment to boost its ailing economy as it clamps down on state spending to slash its budget deficit under an EU/IMF bailout agreement.

The government said earlier this month it would set up a fast-track procedure to cut red tape for big investments.

The QIA and Greece will set up within two months a joint committee to identify possible investment projects, mainly in tourism, real estate, infrastructure and energy, an official with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

No specific projects were mentioned in the document, the official said.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani first expressed his country’s interest in investing in Greece during an official visit to Athens in May. Al-Thani had then signed non-binding agreements to build an LNG terminal and a power station at Astakos, western Greece.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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