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24 March, 2000
Greece today is facing a new era with renewed national confidence, it is at the start of a new fruitful historical cycle, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in his message for the March 25 National Day.
"We are moving in a radically new international setting, in a mercilessly competitive international environment. We are facing new challenges, threats, but also possibilities and prospects," he said.
"March 25 is not just a formal event. It is an opportunity to see yesterday's historical lessons in the light of today. Historical self-knowledge is a condition for the nation's progress," he added.
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said Greeks had to show alertness, prudence and decisiveness in order to protect the country and create a more balanced and humane society, but also work for greater cooperation with other peoples in the region.
"We are in a new era. The times are tricky. The Balkans continue to present dangers of tension and destabilization. Our eastern neighbors, despite our favorable stand towards them, are refusing to withdraw from the faits accomplis of violence and the occupation of part of Cyprus, from the unilateral and arbitrary claims against our sovereign rights ... We want our country to be factor of peace and stability, a protagonist in European evolution," he said.
The Coalition of the Left said in its message that Greece had all the opportunities and the potential to open new paths of progress.
"This requires a radical change in the existing political scene and system of government, the formation of a reliable progressive alternative and majority for the modernization of the country," it said. It warned that tensions in Kosovo and the Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in his message said:
"In these days our thoughts turn back in time to the Revolution of March 25, 1821, which shook civilized humanity and brought forth countless legions of heroes and martyrs. National conscience bows piously before those uncompromising Greeks, who set off to free the motherland and fought an empire to shatter the four-centuries-old bonds of slavery."
Source: Athens News Agency