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27 June, 2001
There had to be a response to the terrorist strikes in the United States, they could not go unanswered and unpunished, Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos said on Wednesday, shortly after meeting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in Madrid.
At the same time, he expressed confidence that wisdom would prevail in Washington, and that it would avoid creating greater problems than those caused by terrorism.
Aznar called for unequivocal solidarity with the US and said that US President George Bush and his administration would handle the situation in the right way.
The Greek president had also referred to the events of September 11 in statements made earlier on Wednesday, during a ceremony in which he received the golden key to Madrid.
Europe's focus on social rights, he had said, as well as democratic rights and freedoms, obliged it to oppose terrorism.
"We do not oppose terrorism out of a desire for revenge...We want to defend ourselves for the sake of our institutions, for the sake of the way of life that we have attained."
He also stressed that retaliation should not be indiscriminate:
"We do not want to ...hurt more than the guilty. We do not want to declare war against just anyone, we want to defend ourselves from an attack we received," he concluded.
Stephanopoulos arrived in Madrid on Tuesday for a three-day official visit that returned a 1998 visit to Greece by the Spanish royals, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia.
The president heads a delegation including Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, Deputy Economy Minister Yiannis Zaphiropoulos and a large group of Greek businessmen.
Source: Athens News Agency