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Hollande: France will help Greece with reforms

French President Francois Hollande has pledged to support Greece in modernizing its state and tax administration. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country would fully meet ist obligations regarding reforms.

"France must continue to stand by Greece," French President Francois Hollande said during his visit to Athens on Friday after signing a strategic partnership with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to provide French management expertise.

The deal aims to provide French help to Athens in its fight against tax evasion.

According to Hollande, France would help Greece to modernize its state and tax administration - demands from the country's creditors in exchange for loans. He also promised to encourage the French to invest in Greece. At the moment, France is already the fourth largest foreign investor in Greece.

The center-left French president praised Greece's efforts on the course of reform. "We must listen to Greek officials when they tell us that they want to go all the way," he said.

Tsipras: Suggestions of Greece leaving the euro 'a silly debate'

Hollande also said he supported a Greek request to the European Union for a credit extension in 2016 to cope with the large influx of migrants. Since January, more than 500,000 people have arrived in Greece.

Representatives of Greece's lenders are in Athens at the moment, assessing the country's compliance with reforms required under the multi-billion euro program dubbed a "bailout."

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday that his country would meet its obligations under the deal. He described any suggestions of Greece leaving the euro as a "silly debate."

However, he said that he would not tolerate mass foreclosures on mortgages for thousands of indebted Greeks. Turning the country into an "arena of confiscations" of homes was out of the question, he said, setting a red line in talks with the country's lenders.

das/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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