The new ambassadors of Cuba, Belgium and Slovenia on Tuesday presented their credentials to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, whereas the up-until-now head of the Palestinian diplomatic representation in Athens also presented credentials, following an upgrading of his position.

In terms of the Palestinian diplomatic representation, envoy Samir Abou Ghazaleh on Tuesday inaugurated the process of presenting credentials to the president of the republic instead of the foreign ministry, as was the case up until now.

Luis Prado Garcia, Mark Van Den Reeck and Robert Basej, of Cuba, Belgium and Slovenia, respectively, presented their credentials.

During the ceremony with Amb. Ghazaleh, Papoulias referred to the close relations between Greeks and Palestinians, reminding that Athens backs the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

On his part, Ghazaleh cited what he called the particular honour of being the first Palestinian ambassador to present credentials to a Greek president, noting that the "upgrading of the Palestinian diplomatic delegation by government of Mr. (George) Papandreou confirms the historic ties of affection and friendship between these two peoples."

He also thanked Greek leadership for the decision, which he said reinforces "Greece's position in favour of a Palestinians' just struggle for freedom, independence and peace."

A similar upgrade of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority was recently decided by Spain, France, Portugal, Ireland and Norway.