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

TAGS: Diplomacy

In a televised exchange with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday thanked her supporting Greece's efforts to exit its international bailouts and addressing the refugee crisis. 

"Greeks made many sacrifices, even for mistakes that could not be attributed to them and I am glad you acknowledged this," Pavlopoulos said.

He also praised Merkel for her response to the refuguee crisis, saying it "boosted your profile as a European leader and the cohesion of Europe." "On the issue of the refugee crisis, you showed very great courage. The cost for you was great," he said. 

Pavlopoulos took the opportunity to repeat Greece's demand for reparations from Germany for Nazi war crimes which, he said, "must be resolved at the competent juidicial forum on the basis of international and European cultural values." 

Merkel, for her part, told Pavlopoulos that Greek-German relations have greatly improved, hailing a "new phase" for Greece which Berlin is prepared to support.

As for the crimes of the Nazis, she said, "we assume absolute responsibility for our historical obligation and responsibility." "It is a matter of the heart to support Greece for the benefit of both nations," Merkel said. 

"We share the position of Greece on the refugee crisis that it is an issue that concerns everyone," she said, adding that, "we believe every country must contribute to the resolution of this problem."

As regards the Prespes name deal, Merkel tells said she believed the agreement was a "positive development not just for Greece and 'North Macedonia' for all sides," adding that a "peaceful resolution of the issue is in the interest of all."

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