04 September, 2004
President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Friday sent a message of support to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the dramatic events in Northern Ossetia, where Chechen rebels were holding some 300 people - including children and parents - hostage at a Russian school.
"With agony and pain, the entire Greek people are following the developments of the drama taking place in your country, where terrorism once again has shown its abhorrent and cowardly face," Stephanopoulos' telegram said.
It said that, "in these difficult moments, my thoughts are with you and with the sorely tried friendly Russian people".
Stephanopoulos expressed, on behalf of himself and the Greek people, heartfelt wishes for a speedy and blood-free liberation of the hostages, as well as condolences to the families of the innocent victims "of this barbarity".
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday sent a telegram to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he expressed support for the Russian people following the tragic outcome of the hostage crisis at a school in the town of Beslan in Ossetia and his condolences to the families of the victims.
"With anguish, the Greek people are following developments at the school in Beslan and utterly condemn this cowardly terrorist act against children, teachers and parents," Karamanlis writes.
"On behalf of the entire Greek people, the Greek government and myself personally, I would like to express our sincere support and solidarity toward the friendly Russian nation. Please convey our sincere condolences to the families of the victims."
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece addressed a letter of solidarity to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday on the terrorist attack on a school in North Ossetia.
The Holy Synod condemns the inhuman terrorist act unequivocally, the letter said, adding that the Synod, the clergy and the Greek people are not only praying for a peaceful solution to the event in question but also for the serious problem of terrorism which has been a scourge for Russia for years.
Lastly, the Holy Synod expressed Greece's solidarity.
The European Union's foreign ministers "deplored the hideous events" in North Οssetia from Saint Herlach, in the Netherlands, on Friday where the informal Council of Foreign Ministers is taking place.
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said the Council "unequivocally condemned every form of terrorism and expressed his solidarity to the families of the victims."
The foreign minister also said that due to the tragic events the visit to Greece Russian President Vladimir Putin had scheduled for Saturday was postponed.
Speaking after his first meeting with his counterparts, Molyviatis said that "all rushed to express their enthusiasm and congratulations for the safe and successful holding" of the Athens Olympic Games.
"It is proved in this way that the tremendous investment Greece made in holding the Games is already bearing fruit, providing prestige and upgrading the international image" of the country, as he said.
Molyviatis will be meeting his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the Council on Saturday, at the latter's request, also in light of the publication on October 6 of the European Commission's report on Turkey.
The position to be observed by the EU's 25 member-states on the starting of accession negotiations with Ankara will depend a great deal on the content of this report.
Source: Athens News Agency