Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, seen as Greece's harshest critic during recent debt talks, has reaffirmed his commitment to a third bailout deal and fervently rejected accusations that Germany wanted Athens out of the euro zone.
"In July, it was not a question of us throwing Greece out - that is a distortion, which was completely false," Wolfgang Schaeuble told German broadcaster ZDF, referring to July's initial agreement on a debt deal. "We did not lead Europe to a precipice."
The interview came ahead of a closely-watched vote on Wednesday by German lawmakers to approve Greece's bailout. German officials have previously voiced skepticism over the troubled nation's ability to implement controversial health, pensions and tax reforms required by a $95.5 billion deal agreed between Athens and its creditors at a meeting on Friday.
The rescue package—the third in five years— capped six months of acrimonious negotiations that almost saw Greece exit the euro currency bloc.
But Schaeuble said that he was now more optimistic about Greece's hope of exiting its debt mire.
"In the last weeks, things have moved much more quickly than most of my colleagues would have thought possible. Let's hope that this surge forward continues then Greece really has a chance and we have every interest in it succeeding," the 72-year old politician told ZDF.
A poll by German newspaper Handelsblatt last week found 47 percent of Germans preferred Schaeuble's "hard line" tactics when it came to Greece, compared to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "ready to compromise" strategy.