President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received a delegation from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), whose representatives are currently on a visit to Greece. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Papoulias referred to the country's dire economic crisis, noting that this was "unprecedented in Greece's recent history". He stressed that dealing with the crisis demanded that all Greeks make harsh sacrifices in order for the country to soon regain the position it deserves within the Eurozone and international markets.
"We are determined and accustomed - those of us that are older, at least - to difficult times. We will fight this battle and win with unity and determination," Papoulias said.
The president also referred to Athens' desire for a just, viable and comprehensive resolution of the Middle East problem, based on two independent states that will co-exist in peace and security.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Papoulias said this was an issue of "invasion and occupation" and repeated Greece's position for a solution that was viable and functional, which implements the decisions of the UN Security Council and is in agreement with European rules and directives.
"The Cyprus Republic is a factor of stability in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean," he underlined.
The Greek president also repeated Greece's determination that atrocities such as the Holocaust should never happen again.
"Both as a State and society we are determined not to show the slightest tolerance for actions and statements of anti-Semitism, racial or religious fanaticism or other forms of bigotry," he stressed.
The delegation was accompanied by US ambassador Daniel Smith and Israel's ambassador to Greece Arie Mekel.
In a later meeting with Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis, the latter referred to the historic bonds between Greeks and Jews and the strengthening of relations between the modern Greek state and the state of Israel, during his meeting with the group.
Lambrinidis praised the role of JFNA, underlining its humanitarian nature, while he emphasised that the Jewish community in Greece constitutes an important part of society.