Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos speaks in an exclusive statement with Xinhua News Agency in Athens on May 20, 2017. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has congratulated China on the successful holding of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14-15. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has congratulated China on the successful holding of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14-15.
In a televised message recorded on Saturday at the presidential mansion in Athens, Pavlopoulos extended wishes for success of the Belt and Road Initiative in future.
"The exceptionally successful organization of the Belt and Road forum in Beijing showed the great significance of the initiative, proposed by our friend Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the international economic cooperation and development," Pavlopoulos said in the message released to Xinhua.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by Xi in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.
"The representation of states at the highest level from across the globe underlines the international acceptance of this ambitious plan, which, through trade and investments, aims to bring Asia closer to Europe, the American continent and Africa," the Greek leader noted in the message.
In the context, the success of China's Belt and Road Initiative is certain, and will contribute to the promotion of peaceful coexistence among peoples and subsequently to the consolidation of peace worldwide, Pavlopoulos said.
This is especially important in the currently uncertain and turbulent times, which was also highlighted during the Ancient Civilizations Forum held in Athens in April, he added, referring to the first ministerial conference of 10 countries representing ancient civilizations.
As for bilateral cooperation, he noted that 2017 is the year of cultural exchanges between Greece and China with numerous events scheduled to take place in both countries.
Greece's cooperation with China is of strategic significance, which has been proven by the presence of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Beijing's forum, Pavlopoulos stressed, adding that the forum would further enhance bilateral cooperation in both public and private sectors.
Speaking to Xinhua on Saturday, the Greek president also underlined that Greece, as a member state of the European Union, with its special position between Europe and Asia, encourages every effort to strengthen cooperation between the two sides.
"The emblematic investment of COSCO Shipping at Piraeus is a highly promising start for the future of Sino-Greek ties in all fields," the Greek leader said, referring to the fruitful Sino-Greek cooperation in Greece's largest port.
The Chinese shipping giant purchased a majority stake of Piraeus Port Authority in 2016 and assumed the management of the Greek port, which would play a key role in the plans for the revival of the ancient Silk Road.
"With these thoughts, I congratulate once again Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Belt and Road Initiative, which is shining internationally, and I wish every success for the future," Pavlopoulos said.