Greece closer to unity government after Venizelos, Kouvelis talks

The possibility of Greece forming a unity government appears to have grown following talks between PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday.

The two leaders met after Venizelos took over the mandate to explore the possibility of cooperation between the parties elected on Sunday. Both suggested that they were happy with the direction of their talks.

?The moment of truth is approaching for everyone,? said Kouvelis, who has so far had a guarded approach to entering a unity government. ?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, whose appeal seemed to be directed at the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and New Democracy, added that this government should have a specific goal

?This government?s mission, which will have a specific program and timeframe that will last until the European elections of 2014, will be twofold: Firstly, to keep the country in the European Union and euro and, secondly, to being the gradual disengagement from the [EU-IMF] memorandum.?

Kouvelis, whose name has been linked with the post of prime minister in any unity government, stressed that he and his party do not harbor ambitions of power.

?I underline that we, and myself personally, are not looking for anything other than the satisfaction of having contributed to the exit from the crisis, to the benefit of the country and its people.?

Venizelos, who is due to meet New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras on Friday, said he was encouraged by the outcome of his talks with Kouvelis, saying it was a ?good omen.?

?The discussion we had with Mr Kouvelis was very substantive,? said the PASOK leader. ?Mr Kouvelis set out a specific and responsible proposal. We are very close, it is virtually in line with our suggestion for the creation of a national unity government that seeks to move beyond the memorandum within three years.?