‘Ochi Day’ preparations

Flags were put up all over central Athens yesterday in preparation for Sunday’s 51st anniversary of Ochi (No) Day, which marks Athens’s refusal to allow Italian troops passage through the country, bringing Greece into World War II. Schoolchildren, students and scouts will parade through Athens tomorrow, while a large military parade will take place in Thessaloniki on the 28th, in the presence of President Costis Stephanopoulos. The message that Mr. Papandreou is conveying is that of the political will of all the European Union member-states for a strengthening of relations with Iran and Pakistan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said yesterday. He added that Iran’s role in the region is growing in importance because of the war against the Taleban in Afghanistan. But apart from discussing the problem of terrorism and the ways to deal with it, Papandreou will discuss bilateral ties with Iranian officials, trade and political relations, Beglitis said. He is to meet with President Mohammed Khatami and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.

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