Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday urged the members of his government to "arm themselves with patience and determination", stressing that the government was "running a marathon".

Addressing a meeting of the cabinet, he said that he had personally armed himself with both these qualities and called on his ministers and deputy ministers to do the same and inspire the same attitude in the public.

With a message of encouragement, the prime minister said that Greece was approaching the end of the recession but noted that this would not mean the end of the crisis or the problems.

"It is an important step toward relief so that we can fight the battles from better positions," he added.

Referring to public debate as conducted through the mass media, Papandreou stressed that there was a distortion of everything being said and done and noted that the government's work was the "only answer to the irrationality of public debate".

Referring to the latest cut in Greece's credit rating by Standard & Poors and other credit rating agencies, Papandreou said these had swung from one extreme, that of blind confidence in toxic bonds, to the opposite extreme of blind pessimism, fear and panic. In the same way that their predictions about Greece had been proved wrong so far, so would they be proved wrong now, he said

He said the model for the country's governance was changing through the dialogue now taking place between members of the government and between the government and society. He noted that fiscal targets were arising that were at the same time developmental targets, linked to issues of fairness and welfare.

"We are proceeding according to a plan, programme and assessment of our course," he said.

On the issue public finances, Papandreou said the government had cut to the core of the problem and what needed to be done was a thorough overhaul, on the one hand, and a restriction of wasteful spending on the other.

The prime minister said the changes needed were not easy to carry out because the government lacked the necessary technocratic services but expressed support for his ministers, saying that they were ready to make great changes and reforms, promising to stand by their side.

PM to chair meetings in Parliament on Thursday

Prime Minister George Papandreou will be chairing meetings in Parliament on Thursday concerning state and institutional issues, as well as foreign policy, defence and citizen's protection.

PM to make address on innovation in Greek agriculture

Prime Minister George Papandreou will address a conference of the Agricultural Development and Food ministry at noon on Thursday on the theme of "Greek Agriculture Innovating" at the "ATHINAIS" multiplex.