Greece strongly supports the enhancement of cooperation among ASEM members to face global challenges, Greek Foreign Ministry's Spokesman told Xinhua in Athens, on the occasion of the opening of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Vientiane on Monday.
As leaders from European and Asian countries gathered at Laos to exchange views on a series of issues of common interest, Gregory Delavekouras noted that since 1996 ASEM has been successful in building a strong relationship at various levels.
"Greece is profoundly pleased to notice the intensification of Asia-Europe relations within the ASEM framework, over the last years, which, we believe, has also tangible benefits to our country's bilateral ties with China," said Delavekouras, noting that the circumstances under which this partnership was born and the global and regional environment in which ASEM operates, have changed dramatically.
"Greece believes that it is in both sides' interest to further develop their coordination and cooperation on addressing global challenges, such as the current financial crisis, climate change and both illegal and irregular migration," he added in a written statement.
Greece is represented at the two-day Summit by the country's Ambassador to Thailand, accredited also to Laos, Nikolaos Vamvounakis, due to important governmental engagements in Athens, ahead of two key votes in parliament this week which could decide the debt-laden country's economic future.
Athens welcomes the accession of Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland as new members of ASEM during Monday's opening ceremony, Delavekouras said, stressing that the new round of enlargement is a clear indication of ASEM's significance and dynamism.
In regards to Greece's contribution to the summit, he noted that during the preparations of the ASEM, along with the other members of the European Group, aimed at a focused agenda and an operational Chair's statement to provide clear guidance on selected short and medium-term goals for the two following years, till the next summit.
To the Laos' logo's "Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity" implementation, Greece urges "all members to use all our efforts and resources to straighten result-oriented cooperation, to seek added value and complementarity in ASEM's numerous initiatives and, finally, to increase the Forum's public visibility," Delavekouras underlined.
In particular in the cultural and social field, he said that Greece considers the promotion of cultural heritage, and the encouragement of tourism as a way of supporting people-to-people contacts and giving the opportunity to appreciate each other's cultures, while improving mutual understanding.
"Europe and Asia have distinct but not distant civilizations, as we share common values and goals," he stressed, adding that Greece sees interaction in the field of tourism also as a promising economic activity.