ATHENS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Greece can "continue to count on its partnership and friendship with Germany", German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a Greek newspaper ahead of her two-day visit to Athens starting Thursday.
The German leader is scheduled to have a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday afternoon and talks with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis before departing from Athens.
Merkel had last visited Greece in April 2014.
In an statement to "Kathimerini" (Daily) newspaper, the German leader praised Greece for the efforts made to exit the debt crisis in the past eight years.
"With the completion of the third adjustment program last year, Greece has made great progress. That should be a motive for the future. At this point I would like to reassure Greece that, in this course, it can continue to count on its partnership and friendship with Germany," she said.
According to Greek government sources, the chancellor was expected to also voice once again Germany's support for the agreement achieved last summer between Athens and Skopje for the resolution of their long-standing dispute over the use of the name Macedonia.