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France's Hollande - it's our duty to keep Greece in euro zone

LYON, France (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said it was the duty of other euro zone countries as well as Greece to keep the country in the single currency area, adding that now was not the time for vetoes or "intransigent statements" but for dialogue.

"It is our duty to keep Greece in the euro zone. That depends on Greece ... But it also depends on us. As a European I don't want the dislocation of the euro zone, I am not into intransigent comments, into brutal rifts," Hollande said.

He did not say who he was referring to but may have had German policymakers in mind, who have made increasingly tough statements on Greece. He may also have sought to pacify the left wing of his Socialist Party, to show he is doing all it can to help Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"I believe we must look for a deal, for negotiation, for reason. But this requires that everybody be convinced of that. France is fighting for that, it does not want vetoes or roughness."

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated on Wednesday no negotiations on a bailout were possible before a referendum in Greece on Sunday, Hollande said a deal was required now.

"A deal must come now, it cannot be delayed, we've been waiting for so long," he told reporters. "If it doesn't happen, if we have to wait for a referendum, there is always a risk ... that we would enter a period of turmoil and enter into the unknown. It's better to be sure than to leap into the void."


(Reporting by Catherine Lagrange in Lyon and Ingrid Melander and Brian Love in Paris; Editing by Toby Chopra)