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Hollande praises Greek sacrifices

French president Francois Hollande has praised the Greek people for making painful budget cuts while urging them to do more to show their commitment to reforms to keep their country in the eurozone.

"For me, the question should no longer be asked: Greece is in the eurozone," president Hollande said after meeting Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras in Paris.

But, like German chancellor Angela Merkel, Hollande offered Greece no immediate relief from its current regime of painful austerity measures.

The Greek premier has been on a tour through European capitals as part of his country's push to win more time to carry out wrenching cuts to avert fiscal crisis.

On Friday, chancellor Merkel met with Mr Samaras in Berlin and said she expects Greece to meet its previous commitments, while stressing Germany wants to keep it in the euro.

Mr Hollande also said that any decision on delays for Greece must wait for a report next month by the "troika" of Greece's debt inspectors - the European Union's (EU) Executive Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece, Mr Hollande said, "must demonstrate the credibility of its programme and the willingness of its leaders to go all out, all the while making sure that it is tolerable for the population".

He said Europe needs to make decisions about Greece "the sooner the better" - notably after the report is presented to a EU summit in October.

"In the face of ordeals, we must show more solidarity. ... I hailed the efforts that the Greek people have committed to painfully for the last two years," Mr Hollande said. "We need to be aware of all that has been done."

Mr Samaras, for his part, noted continued pressure within the financial markets amid concerns that Athens might not hold to its reform plans - and risk dropping out of the common currency.

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