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Greek president gives up salary as country on razor's edge: FinMin

(Xinhua)

10:01, February 16, 2012

ATHENS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Greece has reached the razor's edge and needs to convince a growing number of eurozone partners who now want a Greek exit from the European common currency that it can succeed to tackle the debt crisis, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Wednesday.

"We face a growing number of people within the eurozone today who no longer want Greece as member of the zone. We must persuade them that we can achieve," Venizelos said while meeting with President Karolos Papoulias to brief him on the progress over the second international aid package to avoid a Greek default in March.

In a "symbolic act of solidarity" with ordinary Greeks who have suffered harsh salaries cuts over the past two years, Papoulias is giving up his salary, Venizelos said, noting that Greek peoples face a difficult dilemma between devastating financial collapse or more painful sacrifices.

According to the Greek state budget, the annual compensation granted to President Papoulias amounts to 283,694 euros (372,942 U.S dollars).

Venizelos stressed that the country stood on a razor's edge, as there are still some issues to be resolved over the details of the 130-billion-euro (170.9 billion dollars) EU/International Monetary Fund bailout program, the second since 2010 to be granted to debt-laden Greece.

A euro group meeting initially scheduled for later on Wednesday in Brussels was replaced by a telephone conference, as European counterparts were not satisfied with the commitments given by Athens so far in order to clear the release of the vital funds.

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