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Foreign Minister: Germany Must Do All It Can to Keep Greece in Euro

"I think it's only right that a country as big, strong and stable as Germany does everything it can to keep Europe together," Gabriel said
By The News · 21 of February 2017 13:31:12
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, January 25, 2017, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch, photo: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN – Germany should do all it can to keep Greece in the euro zone, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview, amid renewed tensions between Athens and its international creditors over its bailout program.

Greece and its creditors agreed on Monday to resume talks on a review of the bailout, easing a standoff which had threatened to block the disbursement of another tranche of its 86-billion-euro ($90-billion) financial aid program.

“I think it’s only right that a country as big, strong and stable as Germany does everything it can to keep Europe together,” Gabriel told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain, according to excerpts of the interview due to be published in full on Wednesday.

“Athens should stick to the agreements it once made and we should join forces to do everything to finally get the country and its afflicted people back on their feet again both economically and socially — within the euro zone,” said Gabriel, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.

Earlier this month the German government said it remained united on the need to stabilize the Greek economy despite indications of divergent views between the conservatives and the SPD.

On Tuesday a senior conservative lawmaker, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told reporters in an interview he believed Germany would not back further loans to Greece if the International Monetary Fund withdraws from the bailout program.

MICHELLE MARTIN