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War reparations 'will be decided by international law'

Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos hits back at Wolfgang Schaeuble's comments that Greece should forget war reparations

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Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos says that Greece's reform process bears no relation to the issue of German war reparations Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos says that Greece's reform process bears no relation to the issue of German war reparations Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos has said that international justice – not comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble – will determine whether Greece is entitled to war reparations which, according to a report by the finance ministry, could run to €162bn.

Replying to Schaeuble's assertion that he sees "no hope" for Greece if it attempts to claim World War Two compensation, and that the country should concentrate instead on its process of economic reform, Avramopoulos said: “The reforms being carried out in Greece bear no relation – and can bear no relation – to the issue of German reparations. What’s more, German reparations are an issue that the Greek state has been raising for many years now."

In the clearest indication yet the confidential 80-page report compiled last week by finance ministry experts and presented to the head of the State Legal Council, Fokinas Georgakopoulos, will ultimately for the basis of a law suit against Germany, Avramopoulos added: "Whether this case has been resolved or not is determined by international justice, given that, by its nature, this issue concerns international law and the international justice organs."

According to leaked reports, the report outlines €108bn necessary to rebuild Greece's postwar economy and €54bn corresponding to a forced wartime loan to Germany, both adjusted for inflation.

Avramopoulos stressed: "Greece is not 'losing its focus' on the reform policy, despite the great sacrifices the Greek people are shouldering."

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says the issue of German war reparations to Greece has been settled German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says the issue of German war reparations to Greece has been settled According to Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Schaeuble told a local newspaper that Greek authorities would be wasting their time if they attempted to claim the reparations.

"As regards the compensation claim [by Greece], I cannot see any hope because the issue was clarified some time ago," Schaeuble reportedly told Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

"I consider such reports irresponsible," Schaeuble said. "Much more important than being led down a wrong path would be for someone to direct them towards the road of reforms."

He went on: "Greece has achieved a lot to this point, but has some way left to go. And it must not be distracted from this road."

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