Germany will 'stand by' Greece: Merkel to Papademos

11th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told interim Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in a message sent Friday that Berlin would "stand by" Athens as it grapples with its crippling debt crisis.

"I wish you luck in your future work as prime minister," Merkel wrote. "I look forward to working with you and assure you that Germany will stand by you and the Greek people in the struggle to contend with our shared challenges in Europe and the eurozone."

Merkel congratulated Papademos, who was sworn in Friday to lead Greece's new unity government, noting he was taking the reins "at a difficult time for your country but also in the eurozone as a whole, in which great hopes and expectations have been placed upon you".

"You and your government are called upon to pass and implement decisive and crucial reform measures to lead Greece out of the current crisis."

Merkel closed the letter released by her office saying she hoped in working with Papademos to bolster the "traditionally strong friendship" between Germany and Greece.

The new unity government headed by Papademos took office Friday with the goal of pulling the debt-mired country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Papademos, 64, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank, will lead a transition government which will have to ratify a 130-billion-euro ($178-billion) international bailout and pave the way for new elections.

The new government's first job will be to persuade the European Union and International Monetary Fund to disburse an eight-billion-euro slice of aid from a 2010 rescue deal that is needed by December 15 before state coffers run dry.

Merkel pledged Thursday that Germany was fighting to stabilise eurozone in its current form, with all 17 members on board, even as Greece and Italy struggle to stay afloat.

© 2011 AFP

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