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Merkel rules out new negotiations before Greek referendum


Berlin, July 1:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday there would be no negotiations over a new bailout programme to Greece before the country’s referendum on Sunday, though the door for talks remained open.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We are waiting for the referendum. Before the referendum, there will be no negotiation over a new aid programme,” she told the lower house of German Parliament in a special session, adding that “we can wait calmly… Europe is strong, much stronger than five years ago when the European sovereign debt crisis started.”

“The future of Europe is not at stake,” Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.

On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Alexia Tsipras said the country would hold a referendum on July 5 on the latest debt deal proposed by its international creditors.

Merkel on Wednesday reiterated that the door to talks with the Greek government “was always and will always remain open”, but she would not seek compromise at any cost.

“A compromise can only be reached when advantages outweigh disadvantages,” she said. “A good European is not someone who seeks an agreement at any price. A good European is rather the one that respects the European treaties and relevant national laws and help in this way to ensure that the stability of the eurozone is not damaged.”

Her comments came after Greece submitted its latest proposals to international creditors, seeking to stave off a default and Grexit — exit from the eurozone — in the coming weeks.

Earlier on Wednesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the proposals displayed no further clarity on what Greece wanted. As the second bailout programme for Greece expired on Tuesday midnight, the situation had totally changed, and there was no basis for a new deal with Greece at the moment, he said. (IANS)