Greek protests June 2011 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Greece received a large dose of encouragement in the face of its economic crisis
when Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos called on President Shimon
Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday.
“We know that you are going through
difficult times,” Peres told him. “When you have an economic crisis, people
think it’s the end of the world – but it’s the end of the crisis.”
recalled that on taking office as prime minister in 1984, he had been confronted
with an inflation rate of 450 percent. People said it was impossible to get out
of the morass, he said, and yet within nine months, inflation was down to 16%.
The measures he took made people angry, but in the final analysis, Israel
emerged from the crisis and has maintained a manageable inflation rate ever
Peres said there were already signs that Greece was coming out of
Avramopoulos confirmed this, saying, “We are at the beginning
of the end,” but he acknowledged that it would still take time for Greece to
make it out of the woods.
When the crisis is finally over, he predicted,
the people of Greece will see that their sacrifice was not for
Meanwhile, the government is doing the best it can and is in the
process of changing everything, he continued, adding that while there had been
great progress toward the restoration of democracy, it was the government’s duty
to change the whole system.
Avramopoulos underscored that the present
administration was a coalition, a rare phenomenon in Greek politics.
welcoming the foreign minister, Peres said he was happy that a new chapter
between Greece and Israel had begun, Citing centuries of mutual history, Peres
said Greece and Israel were “like two old gentlemen who remind themselves of
their youth and come together again.”
Commenting on the similarities in
size, age and wealth of both countries, Peres said that nowadays it was not the
size of a country that counted, but the people and what they could
He was pleased that the bilateral agreement between the two
countries included cooperation on science and technology and
Both countries believe in peace, said Peres, adding that he was
convinced that one day peace would happen.
The two men have met several
times over the past 20 years, the first being when Avramopoulos was mayor of
Israel and Greece have known each other for thousands of years,
“We are embarking on a new beginning for the future,”
he said of Greece’s relations with Jerusalem. “Our neighborhood has many routes,
and we must work together for peace, stability, solidarity and
Later this year, he said, there will be a high-level
bilateral meeting in Israel with the focus on energy, tourism, economy and