Greece, Eurozone Reach Bailout Deal

An army contingent stands below a fluttering Greek flag after a hoisting ceremony at the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece Thursday, June 18, 2015. Greece and its creditors publicly blamed one another for an impasse in bailout talks, on the eve of a eurozone finance ministers' meeting billed as key to their outcome. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

BRUSSELS (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Eurozone is open to the idea of giving Greece some debt relief but she has ruled out an outright cut in the country’s debt level.

Speaking after an agreement to start bailout negotiations with Greece, Merkel said the Eurozone “is prepared, if it becomes necessary, to take additional measures” to ease Greece’s debt burden.

She noted that the Eurozone could give Greece “a longer grace period.” A direct cut though is not an option, she added.

Merkel insisted that no relief will come until after “the first successful assessment of the new Greek program.”

Merkel said she recommended the start of negotiations with the cash-strapped country with “full conviction” but stressed that trust with Greece “needs to be rebuilt.”

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