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Germany's Schaeuble says Greek talks to be 'extremely difficult'

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(BRUSSELS) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Saturday that last-ditch talks with Greece on a new debt rescue needed to keep it in the eurozone will be "extremely difficult."

"We will have extremely difficult negotiations," the hardline Schaeuble said as he arrived for an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers to decide whether the latest Greek reform proposals go far enough to merit a third bailout.

Schaeuble accused the leftist Greek government of Alexis Tsipras of completely destroying confidence among his eurozone partners and said Athens had to come up with more than words.

"At the end of last year we had hope but in the last months, this hope has been destroyed in an incredible way," Schaeuble said.

"Definitely we cannot trust promises."

Schaeuble added that in the detail of Greece's proposals there were even bigger gaps than in talks on its two previous bailouts, negotiated in 2010 and 2012 worth 240 billion euros.

"Up until now we always talked about ending the programme but now we are talking about a full three-year programme," he said.

"This alone shows that the proposals submitted (by Greece) are far from enough."

As for Tsipras's calls for the country's creditors to consider reducing or rescheduling its massive debt mountain of 320 billion euros, Schaeuble said this was out of the question.

"We know that under the EU treaties it is not possible to have debt forgiveness," he said.

Schaeuble has taken a consistently hard line on Greece, finding support among the Baltic states and Finland who all stress that Athens must accept austerity policies for fresh aid if it is ever to get its economy back on track.

Tsipras was elected in January after promising to end the austerity measures which he said had driven the Greek economy into the ditch and needed to be replaced by a major stimulus programme.

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