Greek PM sets talks with opposition, softens on referendum

November 3, 2011 17:14

ATHENS - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday offered to hold talks with the opposition to resolve the country's political crisis and softened his stance on a referendum on the country's vital bailout package.

In a speech to his cabinet on Thursday, Papandreou said he would assign the task of discussions with the opposition to two senior party members and praised their support of the bailout deal. If the opposition agreed to back the deal in parliament, no referendum would have to be held, he said.

"I will be glad even if we don't go to a referendum, which was never a purpose in itself. I'm glad that all this discussion has at least brought a lot of people back to their senses," he said in the text of his speech released to media.

"I will talk to (opposition leader Antonis) Samaras so that we examine the next steps on the basis of a wider consensus."

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