greek parties work to form unity gov\t
Last Updated : GMT 06:41:18
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Greek parties work to form unity gov\'t

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Arab Today, arab today Greek parties work to form unity gov\'t

Athens - UPI

Efforts to form a unity government for Greece resumed Friday as the leader of the country\'s main Socialist party met with a conservative party leader. Socialist Evangelos Venizelos, who met with conservative Antonis Samaras, is the third leader to try to form a coalition since Sunday\'s elections failed to produce any clear-cut winners. Greece still is struggling with a debt crisis that is threatening the eurozone. Winners of Sunday\'s elections were parties that rejected austere terms of a bailout needed for Greece to keep meeting its loan obligations. Germany has pressured Greek politicians by warning Greece must honor terms of the bailout and saying the eurozone could survive if Greece had to leave. No public statements were issued after Venizelos and Samaras met. Their parties, Pasok and New Democracy, respectively, formed the coalition that lost its majority Sunday. The BBC said a meeting Thursday between Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis may have provided the framework of an agreement to forge a coalition that would, among other things, seek to ease the austerity measures in Greece, renegotiate portions of the country\'s loan agreement and try to keep the country in the eurozone. If Venizelos and Kouvelis can persuade New Democracy to accept the plan, the three parties would have enough seats to form a government. If not, the president would ask political leaders to make one final attempt to form a government before ordering a new round of elections. Pasok and New Democracy have 149 seats between them, two short of a majority. The Democratic Left has 19 seats. Kouvelis said the country was nearing a \"moment of truth,\" ekathimerini.com reported. \"I propose the formation of an ecumenical government made up of trustworthy political figures that will reflect and respect the message from the elections,\" Kouvelis said. Also Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Greece\'s future in the eurozone \"lies in the hands of Greece.\" \"We want to and we will help Greece, but Greece has to be ready to accept help,\" Westerwelle told German lawmakers. \"If Greece strays from the agreed reform path, then the payment of further aid tranches won\'t be possible. Solidarity is not a one-way street.\" Greece is to approve budget cuts worth $18.8 billion next month in return for financial help from the European Union and International Monetary Fund worth about $310 billion.

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