Merkel says Greece covered "much ground"

Associated Press
Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, right, and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speak before their meeting at the Maximos mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Amid draconian security measures and a mass protest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived Tuesday for her first visit to Greece since the eurozone crisis began there three years ago. Her five-hour stop is seen by the Greek government as a historic boost for the country's future in Europe, but by protesters as a harbinger of more austerity and hardship.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, Pool)

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — German chancellor Angela Merkel says Greece has covered "much of the ground" required for recovery, during her landmark visit to the financially stricken country.

Merkel, who stopped in Athens on Tuesday for five hours, said she hoped Greece would remain in the 17-country group that uses the nation eurozone but said the government in Athens still had to push through key cost-cutting reforms.

Paying her first visit to Greece in five years, Merkel's arrival triggered protests attended by some 50,000 demonstrators in Athens. The rallies were mostly peaceful, but police briefly clashed with several dozen demonstrators and detained more than 50 people throughout the day.

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