Nov. 6 - Greece's president invited Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras for talks to find a deal on a national unity government. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Greece's president invited Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras for talks starting at 1830 GMT, state television said on Sunday (November 6). Papandreou had requested the three-way talks in a bid to break a political deadlock and find a deal on a national unity government. Greek cabinet ministers said the government was still working out a deal with the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Andonis Samaras, after he insisted that the prime minister resign first and a coalition party be formed second. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has said he is willing to step aside but wants a unity government to be put in place first. "The prime minister requested the president of the democracy to invite the two leaders in order to find the solution. Our prime minister is going to repeat again that we have first to secure the bailout deal from Europe and then we will discuss every other thing," Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis said. "During this very very crucial moment for the country and the nation, the cabinet, the council of ministers, supports the prime minister in his effort to strike the balance and to find a common agreement with Mr. Samaras and other parties in order to establish a government of unity. I think that it is very important that this was the message to conclude to this agreement as soon as possible. Even if it is possible tonight," said Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou. One minister, speaking on condition of anonymity said that if the two sides reach agreement, Papandreou and his cabinet could resign as early as Sunday or on Monday. Another minister said it was up to Samaras to make the right decision. "Finally we are waiting for the decision of New Democracy," said Civil Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis. Papandreou has come under fire at home and abroad for his shortlived plan for a referendum on a euro zone bailout deal. He survived a confidence vote in parliament on Saturday (November 5), but lawmakers from his party have called on him to quit.