ND, SYRIZA play down possibility of PM and opposition chief meeting

The government and main opposition party on Wednesday played down the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras amid the strained negotiations between Greece and the troika.

Kathimerini revealed on Wednesday that the idea of Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos calling in Tsipras to inform him of the difficulties Greece is facing in its dealings with the troika had been discussed. Reacting to the report, New Democracy and SYRIZA suggested such a meeting would be difficult as a result of the other side’s stance.

“For there to be a minimum amount of understanding, one has to go into talks without terms,” said government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi.

“There is no point in discussing anything with people who want division,” said New Democracy secretary Andreas Papamimikos, who did not rule out the possibility of Samaras and Tsipras meeting further on down the line.

In a weekly press briefing, SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis also expressed doubt about whether such talks could materialize, although he did not dismiss the possibility altogether.

“There is no scope for meaningful understanding on the issues of debt and exiting the crisis,” said Skourletis. “If the prime minister feels the need to invite Mr Tsipras to talks, we will examine the request. However, we feel Mr Venizelos would be unnecessary to requirements.”

The PASOK leader’s immediate focus is on different meetings as he is due to hold talks on Thursday with his predecessor George Papandreou. On Friday he will be meeting ex-Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The meetings were arranged after Venizelos placed calls to both men on Tuesday night. Relations between Venizelos and Papandreou have been fraught over the last few months and Thursday’s meeting is seen as an attempt to restore some harmony within PASOK. The talks with Simitis have a similar goal.

Samaras met with To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis on Wednesday. After the talks, Theodorakis said he would like Parliament to elect a new president in February but for parties to agree on national elections being held in November next year.

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