Monti says spoke to Merkel ahead of "very decisive" EU meeting on Greece


Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Monday he had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers that Monti said would be crucial to providing fresh aid to Greece.

"I hope I am excused because had a telephone call with Merkel ahead of the very decisive meeting of our finance ministers that is about to start in Brussels on the Greek issue," Monti said at the beginning of a speech he delivered in Milan, explaining his late arrival.

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(Writing by Gavin Jones)