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Papandreou Says He Wants to Improve Relations with Israel

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Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou told a delegation of European leaders of the World Jewish Congress that he “wants to improve relations with the State of Israel,” it was reported here.

The Premier formally received the delegation last Thursday as a follow-up to a private meeting he had with WJC president Edgar Bronfman in Corfu last July. At that time, agreement was reached to continue discussions “with the aim of addressing concerns felt by the Jewish community and to build upon those areas of mutual interest between world Jewry and Greece.”

The meeting last week lasted one hour and was held at Papandreou’s office. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Greek Jews were full citizens of the country and that his government was determined to take all necessary steps to combat the rise of anti-Semitism.

He accepted an invitation by Joseph Lovinger, president of the Greek Jewish community, a member of the delegation, to attend the commemoration on April 29 of the 40th anniversary of the Holocaust of Greek Jewry. The Jewish community is organizing the event as a reminder that 86 percent of the community was murdered by the Nazis.

In outlining his views on the Middle East, Papandreou said he wished to improve relations with Israel and affirmed “the right of Israel to live within secure and recognized borders.”

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