August 9 - U.S. President Barack Obama praises Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' ''bold and difficult actions'' to reform Greece's economy, a day after Greek unemployment hit a new high. Rough cut only, no reporter narration.
ROUGH CUT ONLY, NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' efforts to reform his country's economy, which is suffering its sixth straight year of recession. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Greece is going through incredible challenges and so far the prime minister has taken some very bold and difficult actions to initiate the structural reforms that can help reduce the debt burdens that Greece experiences but even more importantly can unleash the incredible talents of the Greek people so they are effectively competing in this new world economy." The two leaders met in Washington a day after statistics service ELSTAT said that unemployment in Greece had risen to a new all time high of 27.6 per cent. Greece's two party coalition is scrambling to hit fiscal targets and show there is light at the end of the tunnel after years of unpopular tax rises and cuts to wages and pensions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER ANTONIS SAMARAS SAYING: "If Greece succeeds and it will succeed our success story is going to be a European success story." (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER ANTONIS SAMARAS SAYING: "I believe that the region has many problems, we're going to try to solve as much as we can." Greece has been excluded from financial markets since 2010, and has been kept afloat inside the euro zone only by a 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout.