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Greece and Israel to upgrade their relations

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Jerusalem. Both leaders agreed a tightening of relations between the two Mediterranean nations. The visit came at a time of crisis in the once-warm relationship between Israel and Greece’s arch-rival Turkey.

“At the end of the meeting they agreed to a major upgrade of relations between Israel and Greece on a range of bilateral issues,” said Netanyahu’s office, adding that Papandreou had invited Netanyahu to visit Athens.

Papandreou, who made the first visit of a Greek prime minister to Israel in 30 years, also met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Netanyahu asked the Greek leader to urge Abbas to begin direct peace talks with Israel.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’, Papandreou – who is the leader of the Socialist Party PASOK – said his country could help mediate peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors. Asked if Greece would offer to mediate between Israel and Syria, Papandreou said: “My father [a former prime minister] and I traditionally had close relations with many Arab leaders in the area. Yes, we could help. We won’t impose ourselves, but yes, we could help. It’s in our interest and the interest of the Middle East.”

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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