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10 September, 1997
Congratulatory messages continue arriving in Greece following the selection of Athens to host the Olympic Games of 2004, as winning the bid is slowly beginning to sink in and preparations get under way to set up a special agency to organize the games.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday received congratulatory messages from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch and President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac.
Mr. Samaranch expressed the certainty that the Greek government would assist in guaranteeing the success of the games. In a similar message he sent to Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Sports Deputy Minister Andreas Fouras, he said, "I am sure your ministry will make the cultural aspect of the games a certain success".
Mr. Chirac said that heard of Athens' success with joy and said the IOC had "paid its homage and respect to the great homeland of the Olympic spirit and the dynamism of Greece".
Athens bid committee chairman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and her husband had dinner with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who said to the press after it that he hoped Ms Angelopoulou would become the head of the new Organizational Committee for the Olympic Games, yet to be set up.
The ministry would like to see a coordinated effort among many sides in order to take advantage of the new opportunities, Mr. Pangalos said.
In his daily briefing, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government had no plans to upgrade the sports undersecretariat, which belongs to the Culture ministry, to a full ministry.
Replying to questions on whether there was any question on appointing Ms Angelopoulou at the head of an organizational committee, Mr. Reppas said the government had not received any pressure to not appoint her, since her presence led to a successful bid.
The government will take all necessary measures to ensure that the people forming the committee would be the best possible, he said.
Meanwhile, the Association of Greek Olympic Games Winners sent a congratulatory message to Mr. Fouras yesterday, for what they termed as his "significant, yet discreet contribution to (your) effort" of winning the bid.
The group members expressed full support for him and said they would "do (our) duty in the Sydney Olympics and that of Athens".
"We shall always stand by you in full force, because you know very well how to honor Olympic champions. You have proven this recently by inviting to Lausanne all of the Olympic winners, including Olympic weightlifting coach Christos Iacovou..." the announcement said.
Congratulations pour in
Messages of congratulations continued to be sent to President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday following the news that Athens would host the 2004 Olympics.
The president's office announced that messages had been received from Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, Argentine President Carlos Menem and South Korean President Kim Young-sam.
Australian Labor Party leader
Australian main opposition Labor Party leader Kim Beazley yesterday called for the Olympic Games to be returned to Greece permanently, asking the Greek Olympic Committee to raise the issue with the International Olympic Committee, an ANA dispatch from Melbourne reported.
"Holding the Olympic Games should not be the privilege of just a few rich states. Now that the Games have gone home for the 2004 Olympiad, I think the time has come for international support for the idea of holding the Games permanently in Greece," Mr. Beazley said in a written statement.
Source: Athens News Agency