Jewish Greece AP
A member of a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in northern Greece on Tuesday Feb 8, 2011. Photo by AP
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A group of American Jewish leaders began Tuesday a five-day visit to Greece, amid an improvement in once cool ties between Greece and Israel.

The delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visited a Holocaust memorial Tuesday in this northern Greek city. They are due to meet Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Thursday.

Greek and Israeli officials say the two countries are in preliminary talks on potential energy deals involving Israeli offshore natural gas deposits.

Greece, now battling financial crisis, has traditionally close ties with Arab countries and the Palestinians.

The visit came as part of an annual trip to Israel by the group of at least 60 Jewish representatives, from a coordinating body that represents 52 American Jewish agencies across the political and religious spectrum in the U.S.

Athens only officially recognized Israel in 1991.

The Greek president has recently stepped up efforts to attract Jewish investment to Greece's debt-struck economy.