ECB can't extend maturity of Greek bonds - Asmussen

BERLIN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank cannot extend the maturity of Greece's bonds or reduce their interest rates, ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen told German top-selling tabloid Bild, according to an advance copy of an article due to appear on Sunday.

"Both things would be a kind of debt relief and would therefore constitute direct financing of the Greek state. The ECB is not legally allowed to do that," he was quoted as saying.

Asmussen told the newspaper it was "not a done deal" that Greece would get the next tranche of its agreed aid package in November and thereby be saved from bankruptcy.

"My clear preference is for Greece to stay in the euro zone but the key to that is in Athens," Asmussen told the paper.

"The precondition for the payment of the next tranche to Greece is that the hole in its budget for 2013/14 is closed and that extensive structural reforms are carried out," he added.

Greek leader Antonis Samaras told German paper Handelsblatt on Friday his country could not manage beyond November without the next tranche of international aid and suggested the ECB could help by easing the terms of its Greek debt holdings.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin)

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