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Hollande to meet Merkel next week

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14:33 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks on the eurozone crisis and Syria with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin next week, her spokesman said Friday.

The leaders of the the eurozone's top two economies will meet at Merkel's office at 1700 GMT Thursday, with press statements scheduled after Hollande's

arrival, the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.

"The main issues of their talks will be the situation in the eurozone and developments in Syria," Seibert said.

The planned meeting, which sources had revealed Thursday, comes amid growing concerns as to whether debt-mired Greece will crash out of the eurozone, as international creditors prepare a report on its progress implementing reforms.

Merkel is to confer with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras Friday in Berlin before he travels to Paris to meet Hollande Saturday.

The German leader last held one-on-one talks with the French president in Paris in late June as part of regular consultations between the two countries
seen as crucial to any solution to the turmoil rocking the single currency.

Greece will meanwhile host the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, Wednesday amid reports that Samaras will seek wiggle room on spending cuts with his French and German counterparts.

Seibert indicated Wednesday there would be little flexibility, noting that for the German government "the agreed memorandum of understanding which states
what the Greek obligations are remains the basis of all aid decisions."

Greece's government is currently trying to find spending cuts amounting to 11.5 billion euros ($14.2 billion) which are to be implemented in 2013 and
2014 as part of the country's EU-IMF loan agreements.

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