Chinese Ambassador to Athens Luo Linquan paid a visit to Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Wednesday and once again thanked the Greek government on behalf of the Chinese people for its assistance in evacuating Chinese nationals working in strife-torn Libya.

The ambassador expressed his government's deepest gratitude for the immediate response of Greek authorities, who chartered ships and planes to bring 13,185 Chinese out of Libya and take them to Crete, until arrangements could be made for their return to China.

He stressed that these decisions indicated the firm basis of the strategic partnership between the two countries, stressing that China attached great importance to its strategic relations with Greece and promised to develop mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas and on all levels.

Luo particularly stressed the immediate response of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas to the Chinese government's urgent request on February 21, which allowed Chinese nationals to bypass visa requirements in order to enter Greece and stay until they could be returned home.

He also thanked the Greek ministries of the interior, citizens' protection, and maritime affairs, local authorities on Crete, the Greek coast guard and civil aviation services and the ship owners that assisted in evacuating the Chinese.