Tough path taken by Greece will pay off - Merkel

ATHENS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The tough path Greece is on willpay off, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday duringa visit to Athens marred by clashes between police andprotesters.

In her first visit to Greece since the debt crisis eruptedhere in 2009, Merkel commended Athens for what she described asimportant reform successes, but said more work was needed toreduce the country's debt mountain and restore competitiveness.

"A lot has been accomplished," Merkel said after talks withGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Samaras said Greeks were "bleeding" but would stick to theirreform pledges and were determined to stay in the euro.

(Writing by Matt Robinson)

((matt.robinson@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging:matt.robinson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))