Greece not playing a game of chicken on debt - Kotzias

Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:56pm EDT
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By Daniel Bases

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Friday he respects Germany just not German politics, nor the way Berlin views Greece's economy, which faces the prospect of running out of money if it cannot agree to new bailout terms with creditors.

Kotzias is part of the leftist government that took over in January after an anti-austerity campaign promising to roll back reforms and cutbacks agreed by the prior government to improve Greece's finances.

Kotzias said Greece and its euro zone partners need to compromise on creating political policies that will foster growth and allow the country to pay its debts.

Asked if he is simply asking the rest of Europe to trust Greece, he said: "No. To be pragmatic. Trust is a very important thing but they have to be pragmatic."

"Do they want to support us to have growth... or do they decide to have Greece struggle, to punish Greece and to create an example of what happens to a country that has a left government," Kotzias said at the end a four-day visit to Washington and New York.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Brussels on Thursday that everything must be done to prevent Greece from going into bankruptcy.

However, Friday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga brought a stark warning to Athens that its leftist government will get no more aid until a complete economic reform plan is agreed.

Greece has scraped up enough cash to meet its obligations, but faces a big test on May 12 when it is due to pay a 750 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund. Now the question is how long could it last without fresh funds.   Continued...

Greek national flags sit arranged for sale at a shop in Athens, April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis