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Greek rescue agreed

EUROZONE leaders have agreed a rescue package for Greece which will include assistance from the International Monetary Fund as well as bilateral loans from fellow euro-member states.

The agreement followed a breakthrough yesterday between France and Germany on the principles of a rescue.

The Irish Government will participate in the provision of the loans after all 16 members agreed to the emergency bail-out plan.

For loans to be activated, all eurozone members must agree, although a top European official admitted that contributions would be voluntary.

Diplomats have spoken of a bail-out of upwards of €20bn, but there has been no official figure.

Some eurozone states, particularly France, and ECB policymakers have previously opposed IMF involvement, arguing that such a move would highlight the single-currency area's inability to solve the crisis on its own.

President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, who had also expressed doubts about IMF involvement, said he was "entirely content" with the deal.

The Franco-German agreement was presented to the other 14 eurozone leaders gathered in Brussels for an EU summit.

If the rescue plan is activated, eurozone members would provide loans according to their capital shares in the ECB, ensuring that Germany would make the largest contribution.