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Obama tells Greeks it’s time to make tough decisions

Barack Obama

Elmau Castle (Germany):  US President Barack Obama weighed on the Greece crisis, telling Greeks they need to make tough choices to save their country from a default and possible messy euro exit.

Obama said yesterday after a meeting with fellow G7 leaders that there is a “sense of urgency in finding a path to resolve the situation.”

But a resolution requires Athens to be “serious about making some important reforms not only to satisfy creditors but more importantly to create a platform whereby the Greek economy can start growing again and prosper.”

“So the Greeks are going to have to follow through and make some tough political choices that will be good for the long term,” added Obama.

While pushing the Greeks to hold up their end of the deal, Obama also called for flexibility from its creditors.

“If both sides are showing a sufficient flexibility, then I think we can get this problem resolved, but it will require some tough decisions for all involved,” he said.

Germany, the host of the G7 summit, also urged Greece to speed up talks on a loan deal with its international creditors.

“There’s not much time left. We have to work very hard on this,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the close of the summit.

France’s President Francois Hollande also stressed that the end of June “is the maximum deadline” for a deal.

“But nothing stops us from moving quicker, and I think that it’s in Greece’s interest that it speeds up, to remove uncertainties,” he said.

Speaking at an event in Berlin, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis echoed calls for a swift accord and warned it would go down as a historic “failure” if EU leaders didn’t agree on a deal.

Greece needs to unlock some 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) in rescue funds in order to be able to repay 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund by June 30.

A default could trigger a series of events that could result in a messy exit from the euro.

But after five months, the talks are still stuck on disagreement between Greece and its creditors on its future budget goals, economic reforms and tax revenues.

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