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Germany still opposes write-down on Greek debt: lawmaker


13:48, November 22, 2012

BERLIN, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- A senior lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a write-down of public holdings of the Greek debt, after eurozone finance ministers failed to reach a deal on Tuesday to clear the way for its next aid tranche.

Norbert Barthle, the conservative lawmaker on the German parliament's budget committee, told local media that a new haircut on Greek debt would send "fatal signal to Portugal, Ireland and Spain" and discourage them from continuing implementing economic reforms.

"A debt haircut may be the most comfortable and easy path for the affected country," Barthle said. "But our aim is to fight the roots of the indebtedness."

Greece's lenders were "close to an agreement," but would meet again Monday to decide on the release of desperately needed bail-out funds, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters following another futile effort to reach a deal at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in the early hours of Wednesday.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) argued that a haircut on debt held by official creditors would be an unavoidable option.

Last week, German central bank chief Jens Weidmann said Greece may need another debt write-off to regain access to capital markets, but only after it implements its reform pledges.

However, he argued that another debt write-off would not solve Greece's problems and only make sense as a reward for Greece's completing reforms that would put the country's finances on a sustainable basis.

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