President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged European countries and bondholders to prevent a “disastrous” default by Greece and pledged U.S. support to help tackle the country’s debt crisis.

Obama, whose political prospects have suffered from persistently high unemployment and ballooning U.S. debt, has pinpointed the euro zone crisis as one foreign “headwind” hitting the U.S. economy.

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he stressed the importance of German “leadership” on the issue – a hint that he expects Berlin to help – while expressing sympathy for the political difficulties European Union countries face in helping a struggling member state.

“I’m confident that Germany’s leadership, along with other key actors in Europe, will help us arrive at a path for Greece to return to growth, for this debt to become more manageable,” Obama said.

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