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16 October, 2002
French President Jacques Chirac met Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday night, who briefed him on preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
On her departure from the Presidential Palace, Daskalaki said she also referred to educational programs focusing on sports promoted by the European Union and which have a particular value in light of the Athens Olympic Games.
She also said she briefed President Chirac on the course the Olympic Flame will be following through Europe and extended a double invitation to him: on the one hand to welcome the Olympic Flame himself when it arrives in Paris and on the other to attend the Olympic Games' opening ceremony in Athens.
According to circles close to Daskalaki, President Chirac assured her that he will respond positively to both invitations. Well-informed sources also said the French president appeared to be very satisfied by the importance the French language will be having during the 2004 Olympic Games.
Daskalaki further mentioned the fact that in August 2003 Paris will be organizing the World Athletics Championships which is the last major athletics event before the Athens Olympic Games.
''It was a great honor for ATHOC and myself personally to be given the opportunity of meeting the President of the French Republic Mr. Jacques Chirac today and briefing him on the progress of our preparation in light of the 2004 Olympic Games. We told President Chirac that in 2004 Athens will welcome humanity at Games to be characterized by technical perfection and security. President Chirac showed particular interest in the organization, since the 2004 Olympic Games will be the first to be hosted by an Economic and Monetary Union member-state,'' Daskalaki said.
According to reports, shortly after the official meeting between the French and ATHOC delegations, President Chirac had a private discussion with Daskalaki on issues concerning the preparation and role of the Greek EU presidency, as well as on issues regarding the involvement of the EU in the course towards the 2004 Olympic Games.
President Chirac also showed great interest in the 2004 Paralympic Games, since for many years he has been showing keen interest in promoting sports for handicapped people.
Daskalaki was accompanied on both occasions by managing director Marton Simicek and diplomatic adviser ambassador Spyros Lambridis.
Daskalaki was due to meet French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour on Tuesday night, who is a former athlete and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist in fencing, to brief him on conditions concerning preparations for the French Olympic team's stay in Athens.
Source: Athens News Agency