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EU summit should discuss humanitarian aid for Greece: Germany

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(BERLIN) - Eurozone leaders gathering for an emergency summit Tuesday should discuss humanitarian aid for the debt-mired country, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

"We must now cover their needs very quickly, the people there need help and we should not refuse it just because we're unhappy with the result of the referendum (Sunday on creditors' bailout terms)," Gabriel, who is also Germany's vice chancellor, told reporters Monday.

"I hope this can happen quickly. I assume it will also be discussed tomorrow in Brussels" at the eurozone summit, he said.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who vocally campaigned for a "Yes" vote in the run-up to the referendum, had said Sunday that the EU should now discuss possible humanitarian assistance for battered Greece.

"Ordinary citizens, pensioners, sick people, and children in the kindergartens should not pay the price for the dramatic situation in which the government brought the country now," he said.

Schulz said such help could include emergency loans to Athens to maintain public services.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that a German-led austerity drive has brought about a "humanitarian catastrophe" for his country of about 11 million people, which has endured five years of recession, turmoil and skyrocketing unemployment.


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