Greece: New bailout 'out of the question'



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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's finance minister said Friday that his country will not seek additional rescue funds from other eurozone countries after bailout loans are completed this year, despite concerns from rescue lenders that an early general election could unravel years of painful cost-cutting reforms.

After meeting with private investors in London, minister Gikas Hardouvelis said that a so-called third bailout was "out of the question."

Greece is receiving 240 billion euros ($308.5 billion) in two bailout packages, with payments from the eurozone ending this year and from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

While receiving the money, rescue lenders can maintain a strict monitoring program over reforms that have stabilized the economy but also help caused large job losses and hardship for many Greeks.

Unemployment for this year's second quarter stood at 26.6 percent, according to figures released this week, easing from 27.3 percent a year ago. The crisis has claimed nearly a million jobs.

"We are at a point when the bailout is ending. Greece does not need a third bailout. We have gone to the markets and we'll continue to do so. ... So a third bailout is out of the question. We don't need it," Hardouvelis said.

"Our European colleagues will help us succeed. They want us to do well so we can pay back what we owe."

The country's conservative coalition government could face early elections in March when it would need the support of some opposition lawmakers for parliament to elect a new president.

Prime Minister Antonis Saramas' conservatives are currently trailing the anti-bailout Syriza party in opinion polls.

Samaras is due to travel to Berlin for a meeting on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The talks are expected to concentrate on the future of the Greek bailout program and a eurozone pledge to eventually improve bailout repayment terms aimed at making the country's huge national debt sustainable.

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Derek Gatopoulos

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