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Geithner to visit Europe to discuss debt crisis

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[December 03, 2011]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to Europe next week for a series of meetings in Germany, France and Italy as leaders pursue a plan to solve the European debt crisis, the Treasury Department announced Friday.

Geithner will meet Tuesday in Germany with Mario Draghi, the new head of the European Central Bank, and officials of the German government, including German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble and Jens Weidemann, the head of Germany's central bank.

He will meet Wednesday in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He then travels to Marseille, France, for a meeting with Mariano Rajoy Brey, the prime minister-elect of Spain.

On Thursday, Geithner will meet in Milan, Italy, with new Italian Premier Mario Monti before returning to Washington later that day.

The Obama administration has been urging European officials to take more forceful action to confront the continent's debt crisis, which threatens the global economy.

Geithner's trip is coming at what could be a pivotal week for dealing with the crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she will urge leaders at a European Union Summit meeting on Wednesday to consider tougher rules to control government overspending.

Merkel's comments came a day after Sarkozy had come out in support of a similar effort to adopt ways to enforce rules to get control of the debt problems in heavily indebted countries in Europe.

Geithner was asked to make the trip by President Barack Obama, who has been in regular contact with Merkel and Sarkozy to discuss the crisis.

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The administration says it's ruled out further contributions from U.S. taxpayers beyond the increases Congress has approved to back the International Monetary Fund's rescue efforts. A senior Treasury official told reporters Friday that the United States believes the IMF can tap money it received after the 2008 financial crisis.

This official spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity in advance of Geithner's meetings with European officials.

The official said Geithner would stress in his meetings that Europe must act decisively to convince financial markets that it has a credible plan to meet the financing needs of Europe's indebted nations.

[Associated Press; By MARTIN CRUTSINGER]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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