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U.S. vice president voices solidarity with debt-ridden Greece

(Xinhua)

08:55, December 06, 2011

ATHENS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed Washington's solidarity with debt-ridden Greece on Monday during talks with its leaders over the acute debt crisis that has hit the euro zone.

"We are ready to support you in any possible way. We stand by you in solidarity," said Biden during a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias in the first visit made by a U.S. vice president in Greece in four decades, as local media noted.

Two years since the outbreak of the debt crisis that threatens Greece with default and a domino effect across the euro zone, ahead of a crucial EU summit scheduled for later this week in Brussels, Biden pledged that the U.S. is willing to assist in resolving the crisis that is of global concern.

He expressed confidence that at the same time next year the situation will be different and the international economy will be emerging stronger.

On the Greek part, Papoulias as well as interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos who held separate talks with Biden, welcomed the "steady support of the United States to the current difficult times for Greece."

During the meeting with Papademos, beyond the debt crisis, they also discussed the developments in the Middle East and the name dispute between Athens and Skopjie over the use of the term Macedonia in the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Biden also exchanged views with Papademos on the Cyprus issue. Efforts to resolve the case have been shadowed this year by the gas drilling operations off Cyprus' coasts by an American company in a joint plan with Israel that has met strong reactions from Ankara.

Biden had discussed the issue with Turkish leaders in Ankara before flying to Athens. Later on Monday, following talks with Greek former Premier George Papandreou and conservative party leader Antonis Samaras, who head the two major parties supporting Papademos' administration, he is due to fly back home.

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