BERLIN (Reuters) - 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 programme.
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 programme.
“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 stabilise the Greek economy despite indications of divergent views between the conservatives and the SPD.
On Tuesday a senior conservative lawmaker, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told Reuters in an interview he believed Germany would not back further loans to Greece if the International Monetary Fund withdraws from the bailout programme.
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Gareth Jones