Arab Today, arab today greek strike amid debt clash with \troika\
Last Updated : GMT 06:00:10
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Greek strike amid debt clash with \'troika\'

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Arab Today, arab today Greek strike amid debt clash with \'troika\'

Athens - UPI

Greek politicians refused to yield to severe austerity demands, even as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the refusal threatened \"the entire eurozone.\" \"I will not contribute to the explosion of a revolution from destitution that will burn all of Europe,\" George Karatzaferis, leader of Greece\'s radical right-wing populist political party LAOS, said Monday, even as Greek officials agreed to cut 15,000 state jobs this year and 20 percent from the minimum wage. Officials also agreed to $4 billion in healthcare, defense and local government cuts over two years but still disagreed over another $1.6 billion in cuts. Greece has promised to cut 150,000 public-sector jobs, or 20 percent of all public-sector jobs, by 2015, even though the constitution protects state workers from being fired. Greek Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas did not provide details on how the cuts would be carried out. Greece\'s trade unions called a snap 24-hour general strike Tuesday to protest the new continually tightening austerity measures. The strike was expected to disrupt transportation and other public services. Three protest rallies were planned for central Athens. The job cuts, strike threat and political standoff came as new statistics showed Greek debt spiked to 159.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2011\'s third quarter from 138.8 percent a year earlier. The debt ratio -- which Greece promised would drop to 120 percent by 2020 -- was 154.7 percent in the second quarter, EU statistical agency Eurostat said. Greece must make a $19 billion bond repayment March 20 that it will default on if it doesn\'t receive a $170 billion rescue package from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, known as the \"troika,\" which organized the financial rescues of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The troika said the draconian cuts and reforms were needed for Greece to quality for the rescue package. \"There can be no new Greece program if agreement is not reached with the troika,\" Merkel said Monday at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. \"All those who bear responsibility in Greece must know -- we will not deviate from this position,\" she said. She added: \"I honestly can\'t understand how additional days will help. Time is of the essence. A lot is at stake for the entire eurozone.\" Sarkozy said: \"The Greek leaders have made commitments and they must respect them scrupulously. Europe is a place where everyone has their rights and duties. Time is running out, it needs to be concluded, it needs to be signed.\"

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