ATHENS (May. 20)
Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, regarded as the most pro-Arab Minister in the Socialist government of Premier Andreas Papandreou, seemed to go out of his way to disavow that reputation at a meeting here Monday morning with Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Avraham
Sharir, on a five-day official visit concerned mainly with tourism and economic matters, paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister and was apparently surprised by the warmth of his welcome. Papoulias stressed that “our differences on the political level
He added. “We realize Israel’s importance and its role in the future.” He also affirmed that Greece recognizes Israel’s right to exist within secure borders but made no reference to the Palestinian question in connection with Israel’s right. He went on to extend a formal
At the end of their meeting, Papoulias waived the usual protocol and escorted his guest out of the Foreign Ministry and shook hands with him in front of photographers. Sharir is the first Israeli Cabinet Minister to visit Greece in an official capacity since 1962.
He met earlier Monday with Kostas Simitis, the Minister of Economy, and they agreed that combatting international terrorism should be on of the main objectives of the newly strengthened cooperation between Greece and Israel.
Observers here said the Greeks doubtlessly are trying their best to improve relations with Israel. But they are exercising extreme caution. Apart from picture-taking sessions, Sharir’s visit has had little coverage