ATHENS (JTA) — George Papandreou, who heads one of Greece’s two major political parties, on a visit to Israel praised the upgrading of Israeli-Greek relations.
Papandreou, leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK, traveled to Israel on Tuesday to address the 12th political and economic Herzliya Conference forum.
The former Greek prime minister, who also is president of the Socialist International — a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties — met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After his meetings, Papandreou said the upgrading of Israeli-Greek relations over the last two years was "very good, especially in the areas of tourism and energy."
Papandreou also stressed “the need for a larger cooperation in the region in order to have stability and safety, which is a basic component of Greek foreign policy.”
Greeks close to the visit, asked if Papandreou should have been in Greece with its economic problems instead of Israel, said that since “Papandreou was the architect of the upgrading of the relations between the two countries he could not be absent from such a meeting, which includes many ministers and businessmen.”