French President Emmanuel Macron has canceled a visit to Athens on March 25 to mark the the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence.
The unfortunate cancellation is due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in France.
The French capital is set to go into a month-long Covid lockdown as the country fears a third wave.
Some 21 million people in sixteen regions of France will be placed under the measures beginning on midnight on Friday.
France has recorded more than 35,000 new infections within the past 24 hours alone.
Fears of a third wave come as the French government simultaneously faces criticism for its slow vaccine rollout.
Beginning on Friday, France will resume vaccinating using the AstraZeneca inoculation following the EMA’s announcement that it was indeed fit for use.
France had suspended the use of the shot after a number of people in Europe reported blood clots developing after the vaccine was administered.
A survey conducted just as the suspension was announced found that only 20% of the French have confidence in the AstraZeneca product.
Prince Charles, Russian PM coming to Greece
The cancellation of the Macron’s visit is a blow to Greek organizers who are preparing an impressive military parade in Athens on March 25.
However, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, and the President of the Cypriot Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, will attend.
An announcement from Buckingham Palace says:
“At the request of The British Government, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations in Athens on Thursday 25th March. This follows an invitation from the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis.”
It adds: “Their Royal Highnesses will attend a Reception at the newly re-opened National Gallery of Greece on the evening of the 24th March hosted by the President of the Republic, Her Excellency Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Their Royal Highnesses will also attend a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square and a traditional military parade on the 25th March.”
The traditional parade, which was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus lockdown, this year will take place with all the necessary restrictions.
Greece had extended invitations to the leaders of the U.K., France and Russia because of their countries’ historic role in the Greek war of Independence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was unable to attend, while Russia will be represented by its Prime Minister.
The three great powers took part in the Battle of Navarino against the Ottoman Navy, which took place on October 20, 1827, putting an end to the military campaigns of the Greek War of Independence.