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German FM to press banks on Greek rescue

FRANKFURT, Apr 30 – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wants to meet over the weekend with private German bank directors to get them to contribute to a Greek financial rescue plan, a press report said on Friday.

Schaeuble has planned telephone conferences with bosses from the main German banks, probably on Sunday, once a deal has been negotiated by Greek officials, the International Monetary Fund and European Union representatives, the daily Handelsblatt reported.

The business newspaper quoted sources close to the government as saying that Schaeuble wants to extract "a voluntary commitment" from the banks to buy Greek debt as a "stabilisation measure" aimed at volatile financial markets.

Such a move would also help soothe German public opinion, which is currently opposed to helping Athens out of its fiscal jam.

Greece has asked the EU and IMF to activate a three-year rescue package worth 45 billion euros (60 billion dollars) this year alone as it faces a May 19 deadline to repay nine billion euros in maturing debts.

The cost of the bailout plan over three years could reach 120 billion euros.

A new poll by the Dimap institute cited Friday by the German news television channel NTV found that 53 percent of Germans would now accept a Greek rescue if the banks took part.

Several political leaders have blamed the banks for helping stoke the Greek crisis while Berlin has been reluctant to approve a rescue plan ahead of a key regional German poll on May 9.
 

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