29 March, 2007
President Karolos Papoulias, continuing his formal visit to Hungary for the second day, visited the Greek village "Nikos Beloyiannis" near Budapest on Wednesday, where Greek political refugees settled after the end of the civil war.
"The village Beloyiannis is a splendid stone bridge of friendship, cooperation and love between our peoples," the President said during a speech at the village's Cultural Centre, adding that "today, we are experiencing a splendid page of diaspora Hellenism, Hellenism that honors Greece, as well as Hungary, the motherland in which it lives, works and progresses."
President Papoulias, who was accompanied by Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, was warmly welcomed by the local inhabitants, whom he told "we are pleased because you have also overcome one of the most tragic pages in modern Greek history."
The President stressed to the Greeks of the village "Nikos Beloyiannis" that they made Hungary their second homeland, while their parents and grandfathers "forgot the entire drama they experienced and the great day of national reconciliation arrived. We paved the way for a firm democracy in our motherland and we have enjoyed the benefits of this democracy and so are you enjoying them."
He further pointed out to them that the wounds of the civil war have closed and "our homeland is now open to you. At some time it was closed."
President Papoulias also visited the National Gallery in Budapest and met with representatives of Hungarian opposition parties and on the third and last day of his visit he is due to visit the region of Lake Balaton.
Meanwhile, Stylianidis inaugurated the Greek-Hungarian business forum on Wednesday and, speaking to reporters accompanying the President on his visit, expressed satisfaction for the results of both his contacts with the Hungarian government and of Greek businessmen with their Hungarian "counterparts."
Stylianidis also mentioned that the will for economic and trade relations between Greece and Hungary to reach the high level of political relations was confirmed.
Source: Athens News Agency