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Israel's president in Greece to calm ally ahead of Turkey visit

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou (L) and her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog review the presidential guard during an official welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens
— Athens (AFP)

Israel's President Isaac Herzog was in Greece Thursday for a trip aimed in part at reassuring an ally as Israel makes an outreach to Turkey, with tensions fraught between Athens and Ankara.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine overshadowed the visit and Herzog opened a meeting with his Greek counterpart Katerina Sakellaropoulou by voicing support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and concern for the nation's Jewish community.

He then stressed the importance of Israel's "bold... (and) strategic partnership" with Greece, where he was making one-day trip ahead of his planned visit to Ankara next month for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a prominent critic of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.

Experts have said Israel must ensure its rapprochement with Turkey does not undermine its ties with Mediterranean neighbours Greece and Cyprus, two states with long-standing acrimony towards Erdogan's Turkey.

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