Tsipras Tells Hollande, Merkel Greece Will Go On

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, chats with Greek Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Nikos Voutsis during an emergency Parliament session for the government’s proposed referendum in Athens on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Germany's vice chancellor says that a Greek referendum on the bailout talks could in principle make sense, but notes that it should be clear to voters what they will be deciding on.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)5

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande that Greeks “would survive”, irrespective of a decision by euro zone finance ministers to extend an existing bailout program.

“Alexis Tsipras stressed that, whatever decision taken by the euro group, that the Greek people would have oxygen next week, and it will survive,” a Greek government official said.

Euro zone finance ministers on Saturday rejected requests by Greece for a brief extension of a financing program that could allow it to beat a June 30 deadline for a 1.6 billion euro payment to the IMF.

Earlier on Saturday, Tsipras called a snap referendum on July 5 for Greeks to decide whether to endorse or accept lenders’ terms on cash for reforms.

“He (Tsipras) stressed that democracy is an ultimate value in Greece,” the official said.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas)