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French, German Leaders Warn Greece To Stick To Commitments


French President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 6
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have piled fresh pressure on debt-crippled Greece, urging the country's leaders to fulfill their obligations by quickly approving an austerity package designed to slash Greece's deficit.

The French and German leaders, speaking at a joint news conference after talks in Paris, said they also supported a proposal for a special account to be set up to house interest on Greece's debt.

The Franco-German statement came as the European Commission warned that Greece is already "past the deadline" for meeting European Union demands for a deal to slash its debts in exchange for a new bailout that Athens needs to prevent bankruptcy.

EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn's spokesman, Amadeu Altafaj, said "the ball is in the Greeks' court."

Sarkozy and Merkel were also expected to discuss the crisis in Syria after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution that would have supported an Arab plan urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power.

Sarkozy has said France was consulting with Arab and European countries to create a contact group on Syria to find a solution to the violence there and the international standoff over how to respond to it.

Compiled from agency reports