PM forging stronger ties

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis promised initiatives yesterday to help to strengthen cultural and educational ties between Greece and Greeks living in Australia. «You have become assimilated and contribute to the country where you live but Greece remains your homeland. The maintainence of the language, traditions and history is due to your efforts,» said Karamanlis, addressing a gathering of 15,000 people in the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Melbourne is home to an estimate 700,000 people of Greek descent. «We are here to help you solve your problems,» he added referring to the signing of an agreement earlier this week that will enable those returning to Greece to claim an Australian pension. Karamanlis’s visit to Australia is the first time a Greek prime minister has visited the country. Karamanlis winds up his tour of the region this weekend when he visits Vietnam. He is due back in Athens on Sunday night.