Speech of Ambassador of Greece in Doha Mr. I. Metaxas, during the reception on the occasion of the National Day (25.3.2015)
Your Excellency, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr. Hamad bin Abdalaziz Al-Kuwari,
Your Excellency, Director of Department of Protocol, Ambassador Ibrahim Fakhro.
Your Excellency the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador of Eritrea, Ali Ibrahim Ahmed
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are commemorating Greece’s National Day in Doha.
That day, back in 1821, the Greek war of independence started and later, in 1830, the independence of the modern Greek State was recognized. We, therefore, celebrate this year the 194th anniversary from the beginning of the Greek war of independence and the 185th anniversary from the declaration of the independence of Greece.
Over almost two centuries, Greece gradually consolidated its current borders, joined important organizations, such as the UN, NATO and the EU, while, at the same time, played and is currently playing a key role in the southeastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean.
In parallel, 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. Consequently, it was quite normal to recognize the independence of Qatar and conclude diplomatic relations back in 1973, which happily continue for 42 years until today. Back in 2007, the Embassy of Greece started its operation in Doha. Up to now, it continues to successfully operate for 8 years.
Today, bilateral relations are excellent and continue to develop in a harmonious way. In this context, let me stress that some top Greek construction companies are successfully operating in Qatar, working hard to meet the challenges of the organization of the FIFA World Football Cup on 2022 and contribute for the implementation of Qatar National Vision 2030.
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 also witness 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, it is encouraging that more and more Qatari citizens visit Greece every year to spend their holidays. All of them are most welcome.
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. At this moment, I want to pay a tribute to the Father Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for his substantial contribution to the development of Greek - Qatari relations. We also see that today Qatar, under the wise leadership by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, continues to be included among my country’s sincere friends.
Allow me also to emphasize that the new Greek government, which took power two months ago, is committed to co-operate with all our partners and honour our obligations, in order to bring the country back to a sustainable growth. In this context, it is important for us to secure the cooperation and active support of Qatar.
En terminant, permettez moi de rendre hommage à la semaine de la francophonie qui est célébrée à Doha pendant cette semaine. La Grèce est un membre de l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie et a participé activement à cette semaine, avec la projection de deux documentaires hier a «Doha Film Institute».
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me now thank our co-sponsors of this reception, namely, the construction companies CCC, Aktor, Archirodon, J&P Overseas and Terna. All of them have a strong presence in Qatar, as I mentioned before. Let me also thank this hospitable hotel, Intercontinental and its friendly staff for all their help to organize this reception.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.