May 22, 2017 / 10:22 AM / 3 years ago

Germany must not isolate itself with Greece stance - Foreign Ministry

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel address the media after a private meeting in Mexico City, Mexico, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Berlin should have an interest in not isolating itself with its stance on Greece and the question of debt relief for Athens.

The comments came after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, demanded that the euro zone make a concrete commitment on debt relief to Greece, effectively criticising conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s tough stance.

Speaking at a regular government news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission were not far apart in their assessment on Greece.

“Germany should have an interest in not isolating itself too much...,” Schaefer said.

A spokeswoman for the conservative-led finance ministry added that everybody wanted a solution “in the interest of Greece”, adding it was up euro zone finance ministers to find a solution during talks in Brussels later on Monday.

Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund will seek a deal on Monday on Greek debt relief that balances the IMF’s demand for a clear “when and how” with Germany’s preference for “only if necessary” and “details later”.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Michael Nienaber,

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