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ATHENS – He didn’t get any money or much hope, but Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel has restored some goodwill.

Germany is the biggest contributor to 240 billion euros in international loans but insisted on harsh austerity measures that Tsipras previously opposed.

The Premier also said he wants Germany to pay more reparations for damages and atrocities wrought by the Nazis in World War II, but Merkel has rejected that, although it set off more tension.

Tsipras also got some warmer words in meetings with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and the leaders of two opposition parties.

“I am pleased that the tone in the German-Greek talks in recent days has clearly changed and clearly improved,” Steinmeier said after meeting Tsipras. He said a better relationship was not a “solution” to the debt crisis “but it is undoubtedly key for serious discussions with each other in the coming days.”

As did Merkel, Steinmeier stressed that Berlin could not intervene in Athens’s negotiations with its lenders and is holding firm to its condition Greece must make delayed reforms before getting more aid.

“The impression should not be created in Greece that everything can be resolved in the context of the German-Greek relationship. That is not the case,” he said.

Steinmeier said that Greece and Germany have agreed to set up a task force to examine the countries’ bilateral relations. “We want to agreed on the state of relations and to investigate where we could deepen these relations further,” he said.

Tsipras also met with Die Linke chief Gregor Gysi and the leadership of the Green party. In between his meetings, Tsipras also visited the Holocaust Memorial in downtown Berlin.



Source: The National Herald
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