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Merkel Spokesman Queries Westerwelle Comment on Helping Greece

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel today queried comments by her foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, suggesting Germany was ready to give Greece more time to fulfill the terms of its bailout.

Georg Streiter, Merkel’s deputy chief spokesman, told reporters that while the outcome of Greece’s election yesterday was good for Europe, “this is not the time for some sort of rebates” for the country. “The terms of the bailout agreement are still valid,” he said.

The remarks, in response to reporters’ questions at a regular press conference in Berlin, followed comments made by Westerwelle yesterday after the release of Greek exit polls. Westerwelle, a member of the Free Democratic Party which serves as Merkel’s junior coalition partner, said he can “imagine we could do something in terms of the time frame,” while adding that “one thing must be clear: the treaties must be valid in substance. They can’t be canceled or renegotiated.”

Merkel’s government is awaiting a review of Greece’s record of sticking to bailout pledges by the so-called troika comprised of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, before weighing how to help Greece, Streiter said.

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