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Germany, France urge Greece to keep commitment   2012-08-24 13:54:00

German and French leaders urged Greece to keep its commitment of reform here on Thursday.

"For me, it's important that we all fulfill our responsibilities," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a brief news conference before a dinner meeting with visiting French President Francois Hollande in the evening.

"I will encourage Greece to remain on the course of reform," said the chancellor.

Standing alongside with Merkel, Hollande said he wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone, but "we must now implement what have been decided. Greece must make necessary efforts in order to achieve that goal."

During the press conference, Merkel reiterated that decisions concerning Greece would not be made until the troika of European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and International Monetary Fund (IMF) give their report next month.

Experts from the troika are set to return to Greece in September for auditing its efforts in implementing austerity measures and economy reforms. In exchange of next installment of about 31.5 billion euros aid, Greece has promised to cut another 11.5 billion euros' worth of public spending in the next two years.

Greek new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will reportedly ask for an extension of another two years during his talks with Merkel on Friday, and Hollande a day later.

"What we need is a little breath space," Samaras told German newspaper Bild ahead of his visit to Berlin. "More time doesn't automatically mean more money." In another German newspaper on Thursday, Samaras promised that Greece will pay money back and keep its commitment.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, however, refused his plea in an interview with a German public radio. "More time is not a solution to the problems," Schaeuble said, urging Greece to keep the time line as agreed previously. "The question is how we win back trust of the market."

Despite the increasing resistance in Germany to bail out the "bottomless pit", as Schaeuble called, of saving Greece, Merkel made her determination of saving euro clear.

"Europe is our future," stressed Merkel in a video message Thursday. "Protecting this idea worth every trouble and effort."

The news conference on Thursday evening lasted only about ten minutes, leaving no time for journalists' questions.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Rose
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