Greece rules out Russian aid
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has ruled out seeking aid from Russia despite Germany saying there would be no changes to Greece's bailout scheme.
As the his new government continues its diplomatic offensive to replace its current bailout accord with Troika, Mr Tsipras said he would not look for new backers outside Europe.
"We are in substantial negotiations with our partners in Europe and those that have lent to us. We have obligations towards them," he said at a news conference in Cyprus during his first foreign visit as prime minister.
"Right now, there are no other thoughts on the table," he said, when asked whether Greece would seek aid from Russia, which has suggested it could be willing to listen to a request for support from Athens.
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Greece, unable to borrow on the markets and facing pressure to extend the current support deal when it expires this month, is looking for an agreement that would give it breathing space to propose a new debt arrangement.
However, yesterday German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Berlin wouild not accept any one-sided changes to Greece's bailout.
"We want Greece to continue going down this successful path in the interests of Greece and the Greeks,” he said, adding that he was prepared to meet Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's new finance minister.
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Despite German resistance to the idea of a new deal on Greece, Tsipras said the tide of debate in Europe had been unexpectedly encouraging for Athens, with more and more backing for the idea of a change of direction in Europe.
"I never expected that there would be such strong forces helping the new government create a new framework and set a new course, not only about Greece but Europe as a whole, because Europe is in a crisis," he said.
He is due to meet tomorrow Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, one of the main voices in Europe calling for an end to rigid budget austerity, and will see European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday.