Greek president to host talks with PM, opposition - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Greek president to host talks with PM, opposition

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Greece's opposition leader Antonis Samaras leaves the Presidential Palace after meeting Greek president Karolos Papoulias, in Athens Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP) Greece's opposition leader Antonis Samaras leaves the Presidential Palace after meeting Greek president Karolos Papoulias, in Athens Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's president is to convene a meeting between the country's embattled prime minister and the head of the main opposition party in an attempt to broker power-sharing talks and find a way out of a severe political crisis, as pressure mounts to ensure the country avoids bankruptcy.

The president's office said the meeting would be held at 8:30 p.m. (1830GMT) Sunday with the premier, George Papandreou, and opposition head Antonis Samaras.

Papandreou survived a confidence vote in his government Saturday, and has said he will step aside if agreement can be reached on the formation of an interim government that will secure a new European debt deal for Greece. Samaras has set Papandreou's resignation as a condition for participating in any talks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's embattled prime minister asked the country's president on Sunday to host a meeting between him and the head of the opposition in an attempt to find a way out of a political crisis, as pressure mounts to ensure Greece avoids bankruptcy and remains in the eurozone.

Prime Minister George Papandreou told ministers in an emergency Cabinet meeting that he asked President Karolos Papoulias to convene the meeting Sunday night, his ministers said.

Political leaders are struggling to agree on creating an interim government. Papandreou has said he will resign once power-sharing talks conclude on a replacement.

Conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras has insisted the resignation come first.

Samaras' party spokesman, Yiannis Michelakis, said that while they were aware of Papandreou's comments, there had been no invitation from the president for talks. If such an invitation were extended to Samaras, he would attend, Michelakis said in a statement.

Papandreou narrowly survived a confidence vote in his government Saturday night, mid-way through his four-year term, amid increasing calls from both the opposition and many of his own lawmakers that he resign.

The crisis was sparked after Papandreou's shock announcement Monday night that he wanted to put a new European debt deal aimed at rescuing his country's economy to a referendum. The plan for such a vote caused an uproar in Europe, roiled international markets and led to calls in Greece for Papandreou's resignation, with lawmakers saying he had endangered Greece's bailout.

The prime minister withdrew the plan on Thursday, after Samaras indicated his party would back the new debt deal, agreed on after marathon negotiations in Europe on Oct. 27.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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