France won’t write-off Greek debt

France said Sunday that it would not write off Greece’s debt, though French Finance Minister Michel Sapin proposed to discuss ways to reduce the debt burden.

Sapin said that the French government “would like to discuss ways to reduce the weight of this debt and the reimbursement of this debt”, following his meeting with Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis, according to a Xinhua report.

Varoufakis is on a tour of Europe to find support to ease Greece’s 320 billion euro (nearly $362 billion) debt burden, which constituted about 175 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“We can discuss, we can delay, we can reduce, but we won’t annul (Greece’s debt),” Sapin said, reiterating that “there is no question of annulling Greece’s debt”.

Varoufakis expressed hope that a comprehensive agreement on the financial situation in Greece would be reached by the “end of May”.

“Until then, we will not ask for new loans”, he said.

“We need a little time to explain the government’s position to different partners,” he said, wishing to have “until the end of this month (February) to lay on our table the detailed proposals”.

Athens had earlier refused to cooperate with the auditors of the “troika” of lenders comprising the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), who monitor the Greek economy on behalf of the three lenders.

Notably, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out further debt cuts for Greece.