Speech of Ambassador of Greece in Doha Mr. I. Metaxas, during the reception on the occasion of the National Day (23.3.2016)
Your Excellency, Sultan Al –Muraikhi, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Your Excellency, Dr.Saleh bin Mohamed Al Nabit, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics ,
Your Excellency, Ambassador Ibrahim Fakhro, Director of Protocol,
Your Excellency Ali Ibrahim Ahmed the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador of Eritrea
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining us tonight to celebrate Greece’s National Day in Doha, the official National day being, as you know, on Friday, March 25.
This celebration refers to the beginning, back in 1821, of the Greek war of independence. Later, in 1830, the independence of the modern Greek State was internationally recognized. We, therefore, celebrate this year the 195th anniversary from the beginning of the Greek war of independence and the 186th anniversary from the declaration of the independence of Greece. However, the history of Greece did not start in 1821, but, as you all know, back to the antiquity, at least 4500 years ago.
During the past two centuries, Greece and the Greek people have continued to maintain and develop close relations with our neighboring Arab nation, as we always did in the whole course of our history. In this context, Greece recognized the independence of Qatar and both states concluded diplomatic relations back in 1973, which happily continue for 43 years until today. In 2007, both countries put in operation Embassies in the two capitals.
Today, bilateral relations are excellent and continue to develop in an harmonious way. In this context, let me recall that some top Greek construction companies are successfully operating in Qatar. They are working hard to meet the challenges of the organization of the FIFA World Football Cup on 2022 and the Qatar National Vision 2030.These are the important objectives of Qatar that will certainly be achieved under the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
At the same time, more than 2000 Greeks live and work in Qatar. They are thankful for the friendship and hospitality displayed by the Qatari authorities and people.We are also witnessing a steady increase of the overall trade volume between our two countries, which, although in a modest level, is a considerable sign of mutual trust. Moreover, we see that more and more Qatari citizens visit Greece every year to spend their holidays. All of them are most welcome.
At this point, I wish to thank Qatar Airways for directly joining by air Doha to Athens. This line helped a lot the development of bilateral relations, having already completed ten years of service.
I have no doubt that, in the future, the relations between Greece and Qatar will continue to develop in the same way as until today, because they are built on the solid bases of our traditional friendship and mutual respect. All of us know very well and praise the continuing interest of the Father Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al Thani for the development of Greek - Qatari relations. His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, continues this policy and we are thankful to him.
On our side, the Greek Government is also committed to co-operate with all our partners and honnour our obligations, in order to bring the country back to a sustainable growth, In this context, Qatar can play a key role, by enhancing bilateral trade , by investing more in Greece and by engaging more the Greek companies and their valuable know how to its various projects.
I am also pleased with the celebration of the Francophony in Doha. Greece is a member of the International Organization of Francophony and in this framework, we are organizing in Katara Village one exhibition, titled “ Greek Art and Orientalism”. This exhibition was inaugurated last Sunday and will be open until March 31.I hope all of you will visit it.
Ladies and Gentlemen..
Let me just repeat what I said in French.
En terminant, permettez moi de rendre hommage aux festivités de la francophonie à Doha pendant ces jours. La Grèce est un membre de l’ Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie et, dans ce contexte, organise une exposition sous le title « Greek art and Orientalism ». Cette exposition a été inaugurée le 20 Mars à Katara et durera jusqu׳ an 31 Mars.
Let me thank our co-sponsors of this reception, namely, the construction companies CCC, Aktor, Archirodon, J&P and Terna. All of them have a strong presence in Qatar, as I mentioned before and a high level know-how in their fields. Without their contribution, this reception would not have been possible. Let me also thank this hospitable hotel, Intercontinental and its friendly stuff for all their help to organize this reception.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.