Greek foreign minister in Israel amid economic crisis

Jerusalem , July 06: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias arrived in Israel for a three-day visit, as his country voted in a referendum that could decide the country’s financial future.

“The foreign ministry welcomes Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on arriving for a formal visit, during a time difficult for the Greek leadership and public,” an official Israeli statement read.

It noted that this was the first visit by a member of the current Greek government.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Kotzias would dine Sunday with National Economic Council chairman Eugene Kandel, who earlier in the day briefed Israel’s cabinet on the Greek financial crisis.

On Monday, Kotzias is due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also visit the Palestinian Authority. His visit is set to end on Tuesday.

Greeks voted Sunday in a tightly fought referendum that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said will determine its “destiny” in the eurozone, as the EU country teetered on the brink of financial collapse.

Tsipras has urged a ‘No’ vote, and his finance minister suggested the radical left government “may very well” resign if it failed to get its way in the referendum.

Greece was officially declared in default on Friday by the European Financial Stability Facility, which holds 144.6 billion euros ($160 billion) of Greek loans, days after becoming the first developed country to miss a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund.