Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has arrived in Rome on his first visit to Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler and now its biggest trading partner. Despite improved relations between the two states, Col Gaddafi landed wearing a photo of a Libyan who was executed by Italian colonial authorities. He will meet top officials and stay in a tent he uses for foreign trips.

GADDAFITalks are expected on investment between the two countries and the issue of illegal immigration. Col Gaddafi – dressed in full military regalia and heading a 200-member entourage – was given a red-carpet welcome by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at Rome’s Ciampino airport.

This is the Libyan leader’s first visit to Italy since he took power in a coup in 1969. Italy occupied Libya for 30 years in the early part of the 20th Century and until recently relations have been difficult. “This event symbolises a great change in the relations between Italy and Libya after many difficult years… ,” Mr Berlusconi said as he welcomed him.

“It has required a very strong will to take us to a new season of peace, friendship and collaboration.” “I praise this generation of Italians for having resolved the issues of the past with great courage,” Col Gaddafi said. Security will be tight during the three-day visit, says the BBC’s David Willey in Rome.

Demonstrations are planned by left-wing students who are against Mr Berlusconi’s policy – with Libyan help – of intercepting and forcibly repatriating immigrants who try to reach Italy by sea. Human Rights Watch said the policy, part of an Italy-Libya Friendship Treaty had seen about 500 migrants towed to Libya without any screening since 6 May.



2 Responses

  1. Gaddafi’s visit to Rome is a big shame for Italy. Mr Berlusconi is welcoming a tyrant, the leader of a country where democracy and human rights are unknown. I’m proud for the students demonstrating in Rome against the dictator. The sad fact is that Italy too is becoming a dictatorship, where Berlusconi is controlling as a lord almost all mass media and changing laws to escape trials. Italy has been for centuries a country ruled by foreign powers (Spain, France, Austria, etc.), so in the Italian psychology there is still a coward slave-attitude: the foreigners who are rich and powerful (Bush yesterday, Gaddafi and Putin today) are revered, the foreigners who are poor (African immigrants, for example) are treated like shit. This is a coward attitude. All the real heroes of Italy (Garibaldi or the partisans who fought against Nazis) dared challenge powerful and well armed foreign armies. Berlusconi’s Italy is brave only to face harmless immigrants. This reminds Mussolini’s Italy, which bowed to Nazis and chased innocent children from school for racism. What a shame!

    • You know it’s often said it takes 2 to tangle. Ghaddafi may only be repaying Italy and Berlusconi for reparations received last year.

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