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Greek Stocks Plunge as Tsipras Vows to Fight EU Demands


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras smiles as he attends the first meeting of the new cabinet in the parliament building in Athens, Jan. 28, 2015.

The Athens stock market plunged 9 percent Wednesday, and key banks lost more than a quarter of their value, as new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to no longer blindly submit to the austerity demands of other European governments.

"We did not come here to take over institutions and to enjoy the trappings of power," Tsipras told his new cabinet that is dominated by leftist academics. "We have come to radically change the way in which politics and governance is carried out in this country."

The stock market plummeted after the new government canceled plans to privatize many of its assets, including the sale of the main Greek port in Piraeus to the Chinese shipping giant Cosco.

Even with his tough talk, Tsipras said he wanted to reach a "fair, viable and mutually beneficial solution" with Greece's international lenders as he began to reverse the austerity measures he said have led to a humanitarian crisis in his country.

Tsipras said he was eager to avoid any destructive confrontations with creditors, but said Greece would not back down from renegotiation of more than $300 billion in bailout loans.

Tsipras officially took office Monday, a day after leading his anti-austerity Syriza party to sweeping victories in parliamentary elections, and quickly joining with a smaller right-wing anti-bailout party to form a government.

Greece's trio of international lenders -- the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank -- has shown no inclination it will renegotiate the terms of the bailouts. But the creditors said they would discuss Greece's financial affairs with the new government.

The leader of the eurozone's finance ministers, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said he would visit Athens on Friday to meet with Tsipras and other Greek officials.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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