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“I am not going to criticize the initial decision [to topple Saddam Hussein], but this idea was not helpful,” he said. He said he personally had offered to provide plans for the Baghdad sewage system, which was built decades ago by a Greek company. He said a senior Bush administration official rebuffed the offer. The ambassador would not identify the official.

Mr. Kaskarelis also said tense U.S. ties with Russia during the Bush administration hurt U.S. efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan and that he strongly supported the Obama administration’s decision to change plans for a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

I strongly believe you cannot do business in the Caucasus and in Central Asia without the Russians, because they are there,” he said. “This is the reality.”

He praised the Obama administration’s willingness to consult foreign countries on key policy issues and said Greece wanted to offer help on matters such as Arab-Israeli peace that go beyond the traditional Greek portfolio of Cyprus, Turkey and the Balkans.

Mr. Kaskarelis also said he was optimistic about improved relations between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.

In 1054, in what is known as the Great Schism, the Orthodox Church, based in what is now Istanbul, broke away from the Vatican in Rome.

“I believe the situation is more than good,” the ambassador said. “The two churches and the patriarch in Istanbul and the Vatican have established close relations for the past 10 or 15 years. There is a dialogue going on. There are results that are not spectacular, but positive.

“I am optimistic at a certain point, it would take some time, we could talk about a reunification of the two churches: Eastern Rome and Western Rome.”