BERLIN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister have both ruled out a debt haircut for Greece, rejecting the new Greek government’s demand to write off part of its 320 billion euro ($360 billion) debt.
“There was already a voluntary waiver by private creditors; Greece has already been exempt from billions by the banks. I don’t see a further debt haircut,” Merkel told German daily Die Welt in an interview published in its Saturday edition.
Greece’s new leftist government opened talks on its bailout with European partners on Friday by flatly refusing to extend the programme or to cooperate with the international inspectors overseeing it.
The meeting marked the start of Athens’ drive to persuade its creditors to ease the strict terms of the bailout.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Die Welt: “If I were a responsible Greek politician, I wouldn’t lead any debates over a debt haircut.” ($1 = 0.8861 euros) (Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Hugh Lawson)