The new Palestinian ambassador to Greece, 37-year-old Marwan Rida Abdelhamid, has been settling into his Athens office after presenting his credentials to Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Tuesday. «It is with exceptional pride and honor that I assume the duty of representing my country, Palestine, in your ancient and historic country, the cradle of civilization,» Abdelhamid said after his meeting with Molyviatis, to whom he conveyed greetings from Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. «I would like to take this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Palestinian people to successive Greek governments, to all Greek political parties, to all the mass media, and all the Greek people, for their daring and generous support of the Palestinian people and its rightful struggle for freedom, independence, democracy and peace,» Abdelhamid said after officially taking over from Abdullah Abdullah who has left Greece to assume a government post with the Palestinian Authority. (Abdullah Abdullah expressed the same message of gratitude to the Greek people, the Church and the country’s political parties when he met Archbishop Christodoulos in Athens in March prior to his departure.) Abdelhamid, formerly economy adviser to Arafat, is a member of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of the Revolutionary Council of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (FATAH) and he is chairman of FATAH’s Financial & Economic Committee. «I reassured the minister (Molyviatis) that I have orders from President Arafat to strive and make every possible effort for the development and further consolidation of the already excellent history of friendly ties and cooperation which connect Palestine and Greece,» the new ambassador said after passing on Arafat’s greetings to President Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Married with two children, Abdelhamid has an MA in civil engineering from Belgrade University and speaks Arabic, English, French and Serbian. He is a former deputy minister of public works and housing of Palestine and he is also president of the General Union of Palestinian Engineers and former first deputy chairman of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations.