RIYADH - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for Greece and France, state news agency SPA reported, his first visits to a member state of the European Union since the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mohammed, whose last official visit outside the Middle East had been to Japan in 2019 for a G20 summit, will discuss bilateral ties and matters of mutual interest, SPA said.

The Greek foreign ministry had said that Prince Mohammed, the kingdom's de facto ruler, would meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. A Greek diplomatic source said bilateral deals would be signed in energy, military cooperation and an undersea data cable, among others.

Mitsotakis was among Western leaders who have visited Riyadh since the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which sparked an outcry in the West and tainted the prince's image as a reformist pushing to open up Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter.

France's President Emanuel Macron also visited Riyadh last year and U.S. President Joe Biden met with Prince Mohammed on a trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this month as Washington works to ease tension with Riyadh.

U.S. intelligence has implicated the prince in the killing of Khashoggi, a charge the prince and Saudi authorities deny.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdullah in Cairo; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Catherine Evans and Tomasz Janowski)