Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L front) welcomes visiting French President Emmanuel Macron in Athens, Greece, on Sept. 7, 2017. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- France will continue to stand by Greece's side in its efforts to achieve economic recovery, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday at the start of a two-day official visit to Athens.
Heading a large delegation of ministers and business leaders and with his wife Brigitte Macron by his side, the French leader arrived at the Greek capital to promote bilateral cooperation and exchange views of European affairs with Greece's leaders.
"France will continue to stand by your side...We owe it to you. Your resilience, courage and the reforms undertaken should not be forgotten," he told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos who welcomed him at the Presidential mansion.
Macron praised Greek people for their sacrifices in recent years during the official reception ceremony, which was broadcast live on Greek national broadcaster ERT.
Europe must not depart from its values, must be showing solidarity and courage to move forward, he said.
On his part, Pavlopoulos expressed Greece's solidarity with French people over the casualties caused by Hurricane Irma, and gratitude to Macron personally and France in general for the support to Greece throughout the seven-year debt crisis.
"Greece will continue to fulfill its commitments. Greece awaits its counterparts to do the same, in particular regarding the major issue of the sustainability of the Greek debt," the Greek President stressed.
Later on Thursday, the French leader will hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and deliver a speech under the Acropolis hill.