Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou expressed optimism late Wednesday that the Greek people, in a vote to be held as soon as December 4, will support his plan toremain in the euro zone despite having to endure the austerity measures that Greece's continued membership in the euro club would require.
"I believe the Greek peoplewant us to be a strong partner in the euro zone, a strong partner in Europe, and this is at stake," Papandreou told reporters who had assembled for the G-20 meeting inCannes, France. "This is at stake," he repeated.
His optimism came in the face of an unveiled threat. If the referendum fails, Greece may be kicked out of the euro zone,French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters in a separate news conference in this chic resort town on France's southern coast.
If Greece opts not to adhere to adeal reached on October 27, then it must leave the euro zone, Sarkozy said after meeting for more than two hours with Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.But Papandreou said the referendum -- whose wording he would not discuss -- would prove key. "I want to say that we will have a yes," he said.
But first, Papandreoufaces a confidence vote, slated for Friday, that will determine his own political fate. "This is our first battle," he said. Asked whether he believed he would win, hesaid, "I do hope so but, obviously, this is a democratic process."
Sarkozy said the ministers of finance of France and Germany will meet Wednesday. The countries aredetermined to help Greece, but require that Greece meet its commitments, he said, adding that the other members of the euro zone would not allow the euro to be destroyed.
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