An important cooperation and friendship agreement was signed, via video conference, by the Regional Governor of Attica, Greece, G. Patoulis and the Governor of the Sichuan Province, China, Yin Li
G. Patoulis: “We build strong bridges of cooperation between our countries sealing friendship and solidarity between the two largest regions of Greece and China, aiming at the development and prosperity of our peoples”
By signing an Agreement of Cooperation and Friendship, the Regional Governor of Attica, G.Patoulis and the Governor of the Sichuan Province, Yin Li have laid the foundations of a strong cooperation between the Region of Attica and Sichuan, one of China's largest provinces, in various fields such as health, tourism and culture.
The signing ceremony was conducted via video conference at the Chinese Embassy in Athens, in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador Zhang Qiyue.
Deputy Governor Li Yunze, Secretary-General of the People's Government of Sichuan Zhang Yan and representatives of the Office of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Culture and Tourism, and the Department of Commerce of the People's Government of Sichuan were present at the online signing ceremony in Sichuan while at the Chinese Embassy in Athens, the Regional Governor of Attica, Mr Patoulis was accompanied by the Attica Region Executive Secretary, Y. Selimis and executives of the Attica Region Office of International Affairs.
G. Patoulis: “We strengthen the mutual relationship between East and West”
Welcoming the signing of this Agreement, the Attica Governor pointed out that friendship and solidarity between the two largest Regions of the two countries have been sealed and added that this Agreement offers an opportunity for an exchange of development and educational initiatives in Tourism, Trade, Learning and Culture and also provides a platform for launching synergies to tackle the pandemic more effectively.
The Regional Governor of Attica also emphasized the need for the development of Health Tourism and stated: “As Governor of the Region of Attica and President of Athens Medical Association, which is the largest Medical Association in the country, and while leading the national effort for the development of Health Tourism in Greece, I have worked systematically in order to combine the Ancient and Contemporary Greek and Chinese Knowledge of Medicine, putting people first and setting Attica as the epicentre. I firmly believe that our peoples share a common cultural and medical heritage and an ancient infallible knowledge of Medicine which can be traced in the depths of time. This is a vision that in times of a global health crisis, such as the current pandemic, can help immensely the struggle of people and scientists for survival.’’
In this regard, the Attica Governor, G. Patoulis, said that a number of initiatives have been taken, such as the holding of international conferences, the creation of the Greek-Chinese Centre for Traditional Medicine which was inaugurated at the end of 2019 in Attica, and the signing of agreements with other Chinese provinces for the exchange of medical knowledge, practices and know-how.
Referring to the management of the pandemic, the Regional Governor of Attica underlined that “since the beginning of this global health crisis, which has been an endurance test for people worldwide, the Region of Attica has succeeded in saving lives thanks to its excellent relationship with the Embassy of China in terms of health solidarity, and achieved excellent results with regard to the Health Safety of our country. Since the first onset of COVID-19 cases in Greece, and at a time that there was an international shortage in supplies of personal protective equipment, we managed, as an emergency response, to procure from China surgical masks and personal protective equipment to fortify critical areas in the Attica Region, such as the Elderly Care Units and other social structures, for the best possible protection of the population and especially of vulnerable groups.”
The Regional Governor of Attica also thanked her Excellency, the Chinese Ambassador to Greece “for the exemplary cooperation of the Embassy with the Region of Attica”, emphasizing that he has high expectations from the Attica-Sichuan cooperation and from the wider cooperation with the Embassy, both in the current period of the pandemic crisis, as well as in the post-COVID era, in the sectors of Health, Investment, Culture and Tourism.”
Concluding his speech, Mr Patoulis underlined: “I welcome the new day of the twinning of the two regions and I invite the citizens and officials of the great and most populous province of China to visit our Attica. I am confident that the Cooperation Agreement we are signing today will bear fruit, providing maximum benefits for the development and the health of our peoples, regions and countries.”
The Sichuan Governor Yin Li thanked Mr Patoulis for his support and cooperation.
“In 2019, the total volume of imports and exports between the Sichuan Province and Greece has been almost $80 million, an increase of 84% compared to the previous year,” he said, adding that “China will remain open to reforms, as well as in building a universal community with a common destiny.”
Referring to the pandemic, he expressed the belief that exchanges and cooperation between the two sides can be strengthened in order to coordinate the fight against the pandemic in relation to the prevention and control of COVID-19 cases, patients’ treatment and research and development, ensuring the safety of our peoples.”
He focused also on the need to revitalize the economies of the two countries and promote cultural exchanges, and he concluded by saying:
“We will warmly support the opening of the Greek Consulate in Chengdu and the launch of a direct Chengdu-Athens flight, opening a new chapter for mutually beneficial collaborations between us. In August 2021, the 31st World University Games will be held in Chengdu. We sincerely welcome the participation of students from Greece, where they can broaden their horizons and compose together the poem of youth and future.”
On her part, the Chinese Ambassador to Greece, Zhang Qiyue, congratulated the two Regions on twinning and cooperation, and she noted: “This is the appropriate timing to further strengthen cooperation at the level of regional government and exchanges of all kinds. I hope that Sichuan and Attica will seize the opportunity of the signing of this memorandum of friendly cooperation to further strengthen exchanges and deepen cooperation, steering this specific course of relations development between China and Greece and enriching the content of our strategic relationship.”