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Home >> China
UPDATED: 09:26, April 18, 2007
Beijing Olympics will be a tremendous success, says Greek FM
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Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expects Beijing to deliver a tremendously successful Olympic Games in 2008.

In an interview with Chinese reporters on Tuesday, Bakoyannis said she had accepted Beijing municipal government's invitation to attend the Beijing Games as a special guest.

"It is a great and unique moment. I will be very happy to go to China and look at the celebrations there."

Greece will send to China the same fire collected from Olympia where the ancient Olympic Games was held. "We will not only pass you the torch, but also the good feelings. It is a strong message of peace and mutual understandings," she said.

Bakoyannis continued, "In ancient Greece, when Olympic Games were held, people always stopped wars during that time so that people could attend the games. This is what the Olympic truce comes from."

Bakoyannis was the mayor of Athens when the city held the Olympic Games in 2004. When asked what kind of experience of Athens could share with Beijing, she said that they not only have volunteers for the Olympic Games, but also volunteers for the city Athens.

She noted that China is very rich in culture. "It is fascinating for people from Europe to visit China and always make you feel like to know more about the country," she said.

"Cities with ancient cultures, like Beijing and Athens, need to take the chance to show our culture and history. Tourists will learn Chinese culture through the Games. I believe that the government of Beijing will do the same."

The Olympic Games is not a games for some people. The whole country will take part in it. Each person has his or her responsibility to convey the message. People will make the games a success, said the formal mayor of Athens.

She said that Greece has received many delegations from Beijing municipal government as well as the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee and shared its experience in preparing the Olympic Games with Chinese. Greece will continue to do so till the last moment to make Beijing Olympic Games a great success.

This year China and Greece will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

Bakoyannis said the two foreign ministers will exchange congratulation letters and a range of cultural activities will be organized both in China and Greece. Among the activities, a photo exhibition how China prepares the Olympic Games in the Chinese Embassy in Athens, a well-known Greek singer will give a performance in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The foreign minister said that these cultural activities will remind people that the mother of eastern civilization and the mother of western civilization have been longtime friends and have lot of respects toward each other.

Bakoyannis is going to have her fifth visit to China in May.

"A lot of Greece have visited China and we want to have more Chinese to visit Greece and know Greece better. I will invite Chinese to visit Athens when I visit Beijing," said Bakoyannis.

The foreign minister said that Greece and China are exploring the possibility of direct flight from Athens to Beijing and Shanghai.

"The direct transport is very important," she said. "Athens is a big hub. From here you can easily go to Balkan area and European Union and the two peoples will have more contacts."

Source: Xinhua


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