POLITICAL leaders in Greece clinched a historic deal to form a national unity government to haul the debt-wracked country, and the eurozone, back from the brink of disaster.
Prime Minister George Papandreou crucially agreed to step down, removing a key stumbling block which had held up an accord just hours before nervous financial markets reopen Monday with the euro in the line of fire.
"An agreement was reached to form a new government to immediately lead the country to elections after ratifying the decisions taken by the European Council," the Greek president's office said in a statement.
After a closed-doors meeting between Papandreou, opposition chief Antonis Samaras and head of state President Carolos Papoulias that lasted almost two hours, the statement was passed around to a waiting scrum of reporters from around the world, causing a near-stampede.
"Prime Minister George Papandreou has already stated that he will not lead the new government," it added.
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