Sarkozy to meet Merkel in coming days on Greece

Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday he would meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the coming days in Germany to discuss Greece's debt troubles, calling support for Greece a "moral obligation" for Europe.

Following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Paris, Sarkozy said he had been reassured by the Greek leader that Athens was determined to deliver on its commitments in return for European aid.

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"I will be in Germany in the coming days to continue with Chancellor Angela Merkel the collaboration and coordination works between Germany and France that has ensured the protection of Europe," Sarkozy told reporters at his presidential palace.

He did not elaborate on the timing.

Papandreou, Sarkozy said, had assured him of the "total determination of the Greek government to scrupulously put in place all commitments that Greece has taken on."

"Failure of Greece would be failure for all Europe, there is no other credible alternative," said Sarkozy, who said helping Greece was a not just a "moral obligation" but an economic one.

Earlier this week, Sarkozy said he would discuss details of a new Franco-German approach to solving Europe's debt crisis following Germany's parliamentary vote on Thursday that approved new powers for the euro zone's 440-billion euro ($590 billion) bailout fund.

Although the German 'yes' vote met with widespread relief in markets, the existing European deal reached on July 21 is now widely seen as insufficient to handle a potential debt default by a major European economy such as Spain or Italy.

Despite several rounds of stringent austerity measures, doubts are still hanging over Greece's ability to honor its debt payments on time and a majority of analysts are now convinced that a partial default is inevitable.

Papandreou, who had met Merkel earlier in the week, pledged full transparency in Greece's debt-cutting efforts.

(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur, Writing by Alexandria Sage; editing by Brian Love, Ron Askew)