Greek conservatives reject signing reform pledge

Greek conservatives reject signing reform pledge Athens: A major conservative party in Greece's new unity government refused on Saturday in talks with EU and IMF officials to drop its opposition to signing written reform pledges in return for crucial loans, reports said.

Antonis Samaras, head of the New Democracy party, said its support for the government set up last week specifically to enact reforms tied to a eurozone bailout deal was commitment enough, reports said.

He reportedly made the remarks to senior auditors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The officials had on Friday also held talks in Athens with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, a former ECB deputy chief parachuted in to lead the new coalition on November 11.

They also met on Saturday with George Papandreou, the former prime minister who leads the socialist Pasok party, the other major party in the unity government.

Poul Thomsen, the IMF deputy director for Europe who is leading the delegation to Athens, declined to comment after the talks.

George Karatzaferis, whose small far-right LAOS party completes the government coalition, is due to meet the officials on Sunday. He has also expressed opposition to a written pledge to Brussels.