Premier Andreas Papandreou plans to divorce his American-born wife, Margaret, when he returns to Greece after undergoing heart surgery in London, the government said Thursday.

On Wednesday, the 69-year-old premier was pictured in Greek newspapers strolling hand-in-hand with his 34-year-old girlfriend, airline stewardess Dimitra Liani.Papandreou is awaiting surgery to replace a heart valve. No date has been set for the operation at Harefield Hospital in London, but his doctors say it probably will take place later this month.

Asked about a divorce, government spokesman Sotiris Kostopoulos told Greek reporters "when the premier returns the process of dissolving his marriage will be set in motion."