Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Merkel: 'It is a matter of the heart to support Greece'

Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens Credit ARIS MESSINIS AFP
Jeannette Daniel | 13 January, 2019, 13:46

The Greek president pressed Merkel on wartime reparations, an issue Berlin says is closed.

Almost 2,000 police have been deployed to supervise Merkel's visit and authorities have banned demonstrations around the home of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, where the two leaders met.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Greece amid tight security on Thursday, looking to turn the page on the biting austerity measures that sparked major protests during her last official visit to Athens in 2014, reported Al Jazeera.

Merkel and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attempted on Thursday evening with a almost two-hour Meeting, a line under the rows to draw in the debt crisis.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, while visiting Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday (above), said it was unacceptable long-term that "some European nations say this [migration] problem doesn't interest us at all". Pavlopoulos reiterated Athens' demand for reparations in mid-December during the anniversary of the massacre in the Greek village of Kalavryta, where the male population of the village was almost exterminated by the German army in 1943, pointing to the need for compensation for all of Nazi Germany's, in addition to the occupation loan. It has denied owing anything to Greece for World War Two since it paid Athens 115 million Deutschmarks in 1960.

More news: What did Prince William do on Duchess Kate's birthday?

"We are aware of our historical responsibility, we know how much suffering Germany caused Greece during the era of National Socialism so the lesson for us is to do everything we can to ensure good relations with Greece and to support each other for the benefit of both countries", Merkel said.

Merkel's statements follow those made five years ago by the German president at the time, Joachim Gauck, who publicly asked for "forgiveness in the name of Germany" from the families of the victims of a massacre carried out by the German army during the occupation.

The leaders are likely to discuss the still thorny issue of an impending name change for Greece's neighbour Macedonia.

Merkel is also due to hold talks with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday and then with New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose party is an EU Parliament ally of her Christian Democratic Union.

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