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Obama welcomes new bailout plan for Greece

(Xinhua)

09:25, February 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and welcomed the new bailout plan for Greece approved by the eurozone finance ministers.

In their phone talks, the two leaders discussed the latest developments relating to the financial situation in the eurozone, the White House said.

"The president thanked the chancellor for her leadership and welcomed last night's agreement in Europe on a new rescue program for Greece to help reduce its debt to sustainable levels," the White House said in a statement.

The bailout plan, which is estimated to amount to 130 billion euros (172 billion U.S. dollars) and doled out in tranches until 2014, is aimed at bringing down Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio to 120. 5 percent by 2020 from the current 160 percent.

Obama and Merkel agreed that the planned European Union fiscal pact, recent actions by the European Central Bank and reforms by Spain and Italy have also been positive steps in addressing the eurozone crisis.

The fiscal pact, which aims to impose tougher fiscal discipline, is expected to be signed in the first days of March at a meeting of the European Council.

In addition, Obama and Merkel discussed preparations for the upcoming G8 summit slated for May in Chicago, and agreed that the focus should be on growth and jobs, the White House said.

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