Westerwelle sends message of German ‘respect,’ ‘solidarity’

In a fresh sign of German solidarity with Greece, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday voiced his confidence that the debt-wracked country will be able to weather the ongoing crisis.

“I come here with a message of respect, solidarity and encouragement,” Westerwelle said after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens that was attended by deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

Reports said the two sides discussed Greek progress in implementing reforms demanded by its foreign lenders and measures to deal with record-high joblessness.

At the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European leaders gathered in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss ways to combat youth unemployment.

Samaras, who was present at the Berlin summit, on Thursday expressed his optimism about the country’s future.

“In spite of the difficult conditions, Greece is on a steady course,” Samaras said. “No one would have expected that last year,” he added.

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