Obama pledges support to Greek economic reform

Obama pledges support to Greek economic reform  Washington: US President Barack Obama pledged continued support for economic reform in debt-ridden Greece.

"The United States wants to continue to be helpful and supportive in what will be a challenging process," said Obama after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras Thursday, reported Xinhua.

"The stakes are high for not only Greece, but also Europe and the world economy."

Obama said Greece will succeed in tiding over the crisis. "I think Prime Minister Samaras is committed to taking the tough actions that are required, but also, understandably, wants to make sure that the Greek people see a light at the end of the tunnel."

Besides austerity, he urged economic policies that would create jobs and growth.

"It's important that we have a plan for fiscal consolidation to manage the debt, but it's also important that growth and jobs are our focus," he said.

Samaras also expressed confidence. Greek people have made huge sacrifices, and they were not going to stop this effort, he said. Greece needs development, jobs and growth, and is going to do what has to be done, said the prime minister.

Greece is carrying out painful economic reforms in exchange for a massive international bailout programme funded by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF warned late last month that the bailout programme was likely to need more money over the next two years because Greece failed to meet reform goals. The EU and the IMF have committed about 240 billion euros (320 billion US dollars) in rescue loans to Greece.

IANS