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US supports Greece's bid for emergency loans


Greece has appealed for tens of billions of euros in urgent help from the EU and IMF to end its debt crisis, but Germany warned that aid would only come if the euro was threatened. The United States said it supports the application.


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the US Treasury Department was "closely monitoring" the situation after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the
45-billion-euro package was a "national need."

Papandreou said the previous conservative government had left the country a "sinking ship", while Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said he expected no problem in getting the aid and that it should be available in "a few days".

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government has been reluctant to help Greece, declared that the rescue package would be activated only if the stability of the euro were threatened and Athens implemented tough policies.

Merkel spoke after the EU said it did not see any "obstacles" and would give "rapid" treatment to the request to activate a three-year debt rescue worth up to about 45 billion euros in the first year at concessionary interest rates of about 5 percent.

International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the fund would "move expeditiously."

The Greek debt drama has mushroomed into the biggest crisis in the history of the euro, sparking concerns that it could spread to other weak members of the single currency area battling runaway deficits and debt.

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