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Speech of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Amanatidis at a meeting with Consuls General (Thessaloniki, 10 September 2017)

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dear Consuls,

First of all, I would like to thank you for responding to this invitation to a meeting on Thessaloniki, which is being held for the first time at this level.

The purpose of this invitation is for us to have an open and constructive discussion on the potential and prospects that exist for our implementing specific ideas and proposals in cooperation with the countries you represent in this city.

I will listen with interest to your positions and proposals, so that we can then consider the extent to which, and in what framework, we can move ahead to their implementation.

The Greek government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attach special importance to the city of Thessaloniki as a metropolitan centre of Southeast Europe. We have decided – and are already putting this into practice – that this city should host major regional conferences and meetings, and I refer you to the recent trilateral meetings that took place in June and July.

Thessaloniki can play a key role in the sectors of letters and culture, as its rich history makes it ideal suited for this. As you already know, in the immediate future the Holocaust Museum will be built in the city, pointing up the contribution of Greek Jews to its history. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki also hosts the recently founded chair of Pontian Studies, which covers the history of a major part of the Greek Diaspora. It is also our intention for the city to host the headquarters of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, while recently, in June, we presented the digital map of the Hellenic diaspora, here in Thessaloniki.

Thus, we want to stress the international, multicultural identity of a city whose long tradition and history show that it can welcome and host events of all kinds. I would like to take this opportunity to say that, in the coming year, Aristotle University is planning to hold a conference on the Macedonian Struggle and the role the city of Thessaloniki in the First World War.

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