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Germany's Merkel underlines creditors' refusal to consider new debt forgiveness for Greece

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BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has underlined the refusal of Greece's European creditors to consider forgiving part of the debt-ridden country's rescue loans, though she stressed in an interview published Saturday that Berlin's aim is to keep Greece in the eurozone.

Greece's new government insists it will honor pre-election promises to seek a cut on the country's rescue debt and scrap painful budget measures that were demanded in exchange for the loans.

Merkel said in an interview with the daily Berliner Morgenpost that Europe will continue showing solidarity with Greece and other nations hit by Europe's debt crisis "if these countries undertake their own reform and saving efforts," and fended off a question about the new Greek government's moves to reverse reforms and rehire suspended workers.

PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting of her government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting of her government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

"We — Germany and the other European partners — will now wait and see what concept the new Greek government comes to us with," she was quoted as saying. She was clear, however, about prospects of a debt cut.

Athens already was forgiven billions of euros by private creditors, Merkel said. "I don't see a further debt haircut."

As for demands that have surfaced in Greece for Germany to pay more compensation for Nazi crimes during World War II, Merkel said that "this question doesn't arise."

Merkel said she wants Greece to be successful and acknowledged that "many people there have hard times behind them."

"The aim of our policies was and is for Greece to remain a part of the euro community permanently," she said.

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