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Greece, euro zone agree four-month loan extension, avert crunch

Friday, February 20, 2015 - 01:48

Euro zone finance ministers agree in principle to extend Greece's financial rescue by four months, averting a potential crunch that could have forced Greece to drop the Euro. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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There have been the protests in Athens filled with mockery and anger over austerity measures many in Greece see as crippling their future. There have been hours and hours of talks to try to find a solution agreeable to Greece and acceptable to its lenders. Now Eurozone finance ministers have agreed - in principle - to extend Greece's financial rescue by four months. Now Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the 19-nation Eurogroup says they have a starting point. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROGROUP CHAIRMAN, JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM, SAYING: "There is a hope to reach in the end a positive outcome, to have a successful review and conclusion of the program in time. And that required trust and I think tonight was a first step in this process of rebuilding trust. As you know trust comes or leaves quicker than it comes." This view echoed by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, YANIS VAROUFAKIS, SAYING: "Today, we have found partners amongst those who, up until very recently, looked at us with suspicion. There are some partners still that are looking at us with suspicion. This is our challenge to win over their trust and we intend to do this. This is only a very first step on a long journey, but long journeys have to commence with a step." Markets rallied on the news, and for the new Greek government it will buy time to try to negotiate longer-term debt relief with its official creditors.

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Greece, euro zone agree four-month loan extension, avert crunch

Friday, February 20, 2015 - 01:48