Berlin said the demands of Alexis Tsipras's new far-Left Greek government for some of its debts to be written off were 'divorced from reality'. But Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis replied that the government would no longer engage with officials representing the country's despised 'troika' of lenders -- the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Instead, the new government -- which swept to power last weekend on a promise of ending years of austerity -- would talk directly to other EU leaders to try to write off more than half of Greece's £179 billion in rescue loans.

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