WASHINGTON, DC – Greece was on the agenda of a meeting held at the White House between President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The discussions will continue over lunch.
In his opening remarks at their joint press conference after the meeting, Reuters quoted Obama saying “I look forward to hearing Angela’s assessment of how Europe and the IMF can work with the new Greek government to find a way that returns Greece to sustainable growth within the Eurozone.”
He added that such growth is critical to the global economy and the United States.
Merkel did not bring up Greece in her statement, but she appeared eager to answer a question about it posed by a German journalist.
“What is your comment on the most recent comments of the Greek prime minster who say let’s end those programs and I am going to stand by the promises I made during the election campaign. How do you envisage the further cooperation with the Greek Government,” the journalist asked.
Merkel responded by saying:
“On Wednesday there is going to be a Eurogroup meeting and I think what counts is what Greece will put on the table at that Eurogroup meetings or perhaps a few days later. The German policy ever since 2010 has been aimed at Greece staying a member of the eurozone. I have said this time and again. The basic rules have always been the same: You put in your own efforts and on the other side you are being shown solidarity as a quid pro quo. The three institutions of the troika – the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF have agreed programs. These programs are the basis of any discussion we have. I have always said I will wait for Greece to come with a sustainable proposal and then we will talk about this.”
Obama and Merkel also discussed the Ukraine situation, including the matter of sanctions against pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and Russia.
A substantial amount of time was devoted to the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Obama also addressed the related tension between him and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.