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09 July, 2002
President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday warmly welcomed at the Presidential Mansion visiting Irish President Mary McAleese, who heads a delegation that includes her husband Martin. Following a meeting that lasted for about one and a half hours, the two presidents spoke to the press.
Stephanopoulos stressed that Greece appreciated Ireland's presence in the European Union, which is a model of speedy development and a beneficial example for Greece.
The Greek president also said that during their discussions it was noted that trade between the two countries can grow further along with the further development of cultural ties.
They also discussed common interest issues, such as the EU's enlargement, issues on which the opinions of the two countries converge, as the two sides desire the accession of new countries and the development of new institutions so that the EU may have more democratic and effective ones.
Stephanopoulos also said that his counterpart explained that the negative result of the first plebiscite in Ireland over the Nice Treaty was due to a lack of information provided to the citizens of Ireland and not their opposition to the EU.
He added that following a better briefing there will be a different result in the plebiscite scheduled for October.
Stephanopoulos thanked McAleese for her country's stance toward the Cyprus problem.
The Irish president, on her part, thanked Stephanopoulos and wished the Greek people success, stressing that the two countries have the ability to benefit from the advantages as members of a wider cooperation.
''I have the honor to be the first Irish president to visit Greece, as was Stephanopoulos the first Greek president to visit my country two years ago,'' McAleese said.
Source: Athens News Agency