Merkel urges quick decision on Greece, rejects "haircut"

BERLIN Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:19pm IST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks over her shoulder as she welcomes French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault outside the Chancellery in Berlin November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks over her shoulder as she welcomes French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault outside the Chancellery in Berlin November 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European finance ministers to come up with a quick solution for Greece's strained finances but rejected the idea that governments might accept losses on loans already given to Athens.

"I hope that the time is near when we can reach the solution that is needed," Merkel said when asked about Greece at a joint news conference with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

"Of course we did not talk about debt haircuts, you know our view and that has not changed, nor should it," she said.

Ayrault added: "The moment of decision regarding Greece is approaching and, like Germany, France hopes this decision comes as quickly as possible.

"The important thing is to do everything to keep Greece in the euro zone, there is a consensus on this essential point. If there were any doubt or hesitation we could bear a very heavy responsibility," he added. (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Noah Barkin, Editing by Gareth Jones)

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