In a call with newly elected Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, U.S. President Barack Obama openly called for some form of debt relief for Greece, opening up a bigger divide between the United States and European leaders who oppose any form of debt relief.
A statement by the White House press secretary said “The United States looks forward to working with the new greek government as it takes steps to implement needed reforms, return to growth, and achieve debt sustainability within the eurozone, including through agreement on debt relief with its creditors.”
Germany, which is the largest contributor to Greek rescue funds, has taken a tough line on Greece and for a long time has opposed any form of debt relief and only softening its stance after the International Monetary Fund issued its own statement arguing it way the only way for Greece to move forward.
German chancellor Angela Merkel said she was open to discussing reduced interest rates and extended maturity dates. But said this would happen only after details of the latest bailout had been agreed, and reiterated that there would be no debt write-off.
The White House statement also said that President Obama also pledged solidarity with Greece and the EU “in their response to the extraordinary surge in refugees and migrants” and reiterated America’s commitment “to helping Syrians and others in need of humanitarian relief.”