Merkel says Greek rescue talks must be 'accelerated'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that talks between Greece, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union on a bailout package for Athens must be sped up.
"It is perfectly clear that the negotiations with the Greek government, the European Commission and the IMF need to be accelerated," she told reporters after talks with visiting IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
"We hope they can be wrapped up in the coming days and on the basis of this, Germany will make its decisions."
Merkel reiterated that Germany expected Greece to implement an "ambitious" austerity programme if it wanted a helping hand.
Strauss-Kahn, who had earlier said that confidence in the 16-nation eurozone as a whole was at stake with the Greek debt crisis, tried to talk up Athens' reliability as a borrower.
"It is not granting money, it is loans that will be repaid, and they will be repaid when Greece will be back on track. That is why this programme has to be credible," he said.
Strauss-Kahn also attempted to calm markets, which have been deeply shaken by the Greek turmoil.
"I do believe that a strong programme, a strong commitment by the European Council, a strong commitment by the IMF, a strong commitment from the Greeks on what they have to do will restore confidence in the market.
"There is no programme from the IMF that has not been repaid in the past."
© 2010 AFP