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18 Greeks awarded for helping evacuate Chinese from Libya

(Xinhua)

11:16, October 27, 2011

Jia Qinglin (C, Front), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, attends an awarding ceremony for those who did great contributions in the evacuation operation of Chinese nationals from Libya through the Greek island of Crete, in Crete Island, Greece, Oct. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Liu Jiansheng)

HERAKLION, Greece, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin presented an award here Wednesday to 18 Greeks who helped evacuate 13,185 Chinese nationals from war-plagued Libya in March.

Jia, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, spoke highly of the Greek government, the provincial government of Crete in particular, for their timely approval of the evacuation of the Chinese nationals from turmoil-hit Libya via Crete.

He also thanked all Greek departments concerned as well as the people of Crete for the help and convenience they offered during the evacuation, which he described as a "miracle."

"The rescue operation fully showed the Greek people's humanitarian spirit and the deep friendship between the two countries," he said at the award ceremony, which was attended by Stavros Arnaoutakis, governor of Crete province.

"Today's Contribution Award to Sino-Greek Friendship is also a reflection of the Chinese people's gratefulness to the Crete provincial government, as well as to the Greek government and the people," he said.

Jia also said that he believed the friendship between the two countries, with concerted efforts from both sides, will last forever.

For his part, Arnaoutakis, on behalf of the 18 Greeks, welcomed Jia's visit, saying that the award belonged to all the people of Crete, as people from all sectors had participated in the evacuation of the Chinese nationals from Libya.

He believed the award will have a profound impact on the development of the friendly and cooperative ties between Greece and China.

Jia, who is on a three-nation European tour, arrived in Athens Sunday for a five-day visit to Greece. He will also travel to the Netherlands and Germany.

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