Italy / Libya: Gadaffi’s second Roman holiday
30 August 2010
Muammar Gadaffi is back in Rome, and he's getting himself noticed, quips L'Unità. As during his controversial 2009 visit, the Libyan leader came with the usual retinue of female body guards, pitched his bedouin tent in the ambassador's garden and held a meeting with 500 girls – paid 70€ each by a hostess agency – reportedly converting three of them to the true faith. "Islam should be the religion of the whole of Europe", he is reported to have said, prompting the anger of Catholics in the government and embarassing his close friend Silvio Berlusconi, who commented "It's just folklore". Deeper controversies remain about the Bengasi agreement, whose second anniversary Gadaffi came to celebrate. Besides its infamous anti-immigration clauses and hefty compensation for the Italy’s occupation of the North African country in the first half of the 20th century, the deal is accused of opening the doors to Libyan capital penetration in Italy and contributes to the "mercantilistic drift" of its foreign policy", complains MP Matteo Mecacci.