Sarkozy, Merkel tell new Greek PM speed is vital

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed to new Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos the urgency of implementing Athens' pledges to save it from bankruptcy.

The two leaders had a conference call with Papademos, sworn in on Friday to head an interim unity government, stressing "the urgency to put in place completely all commitments made" by Greece to its eurozone partners, the Elysee Palace said.

"The payment of the next tranche (of the bailout) can only take place when a decisive step has been taken in this matter," the French presidency said in its statement.

The French and German leaders also held a separate conversation where they discussed developments throughout the eurozone and what intiatives are needed to speed up the currency bloc's October 27 accord.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their determination to totally defend the euro," the statement added.

Greece's finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, who kept his post in the new unity government, said late Friday that he hoped the next tranche of Greece's 2010 bailout from the EU and IMF would be released during a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on November 17.

© 2011 AFP

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