“Coming to Greece is Coming Together”

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Greece is ready to host the summer Olympic Games. It will be a great time to remember; it took fifteen centuries for the Games to revive; it took them another century to return to Athens. These are going to be great and inspiring Games for all.

Greece also celebrates three decades of stable democracy, following the 1967 military junta; in the last two of them, EU membership has contributed in making Greece a more confident nation; the euro has created a stable and freer economic environment; new state-of-the-art infrastructure projects and an investment-friendly environment promise to turn Greece, currently the only EU and NATO member in Southeastern Europe, to a major cultural and business center for the years to come.

Geography, economy and politics helps out a lot. Our country is the ideal location for starting new business ventures in Southeastern Europe – the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, Greece’s particularly close relationship with the Arab world is cemented by deep cultural ties and a tradition of close cooperation and understanding.

This is certainly the time to move forward and do more. The willingness is there. The Arab Peninsula nations have a great opportunity to re-discover this new Greece; in business, tourism and culture, our relations must progress further and at a faster pace.

This summer’s Athens Olympic Games are a great opportunity for this. We call on everyone, all over the Arab world, to join us. To celebrate with us, our common humanity; to observe the Olympic Truce and cease fighting for the extended duration of the Games; to enter a new mindset that for 18 days this August and 11 days this September, a mindset that enlarges the context and enjoys the full richness of the so many things we have in common.


This is the time to begin. And work more closely for a better and more just world.