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Germany's Gabriel: Greece needs aid programme but deal difficult

[BERLIN] Greece needs a new aid programme but it is unclear whether all sides involved will be able to come to an agreement, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday after meeting the new Greek finance minister.

"Nobody knows whether we can agree. It's about serious talks," Gabriel told a joint news conference with Greece's Yanis Varoufakis in Berlin.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' 10-day-old government has said it will not extend a bailout programme due to expire at the end of this month and has refused to cooperate with the so-called "troika" of international lenders.

Speaking earlier in Berlin, Mr Varoufakis proposed a bridging programme until the end of May to allow time for debt talks, vowing Greece would do everything in its power to avoid default.

REUTERS