June 15, 2008

Tough Times Ahead for Italia

Cari amici, now it is up to you to bring some sense back to Italians and make Berlusconi listen to you! Turn off your TVs, go to the Internet for news, not Berlusconi's hysterical media which uses fear tactics worthy of FAUX News. Now they're going to convince you to send more troops to AFGHANISTAN? Will you buy it? I also have a very nice bridge, right nearby, very well known, and you might like to purchase it?
Bush to press Berlusconi on Iran and Afghanistan
Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:35pm EDT
By Matt Spetalnick and Stephen Brown
ROME (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush will urge Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as an old ally on Thursday to take a tougher stand over Iran's nuclear program and expand Italy's military role in Afghanistan
[...] But beyond the smiles and handshakes, Bush will be looking for concrete signs that Berlusconi, whose previous government supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, is bringing Italy's foreign policy back closer in line with Washington's.
[...] Berlusconi's admiration for Bush runs counter to public sentiment in Europe where he is widely reviled for the Iraq war.
While Berlusconi and Pope Benedict prepared to roll out the red carpet for Bush over the next two days, about a thousand leftists and anti-war activists staged a peaceful protest in the centre of Rome after his arrival on Wednesday.
Bush's bid to ratchet up pressure on Iran over its nuclear program is expected to be high on the agenda with Berlusconi, as it has been since the start of his European trip on Monday.
[...] Italy, one of Iran's top foreign investors, could have an impact should the European Union carry out a threat to impose new measures on Tehran beyond existing U.N. sanctions if it keeps defying demands to stop uranium enrichment.
Washington had urged the centre-left government of Berlusconi's predecessor Romano Prodi to take a harder line with Italian companies doing business in Iran but to little avail.
Signalling a stronger stance, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a television interview the "path of sanctions should be resumed more firmly than ever" if Tehran rejected a revised incentives package it would soon be offered.
Bush wants a firmer commitment from Berlusconi to the war effort in Afghanistan. He has pressed NATO allies, so far with limited results, to increase troop levels and lift bans on deployment of forces to places where fighting is fiercest.
Italy has about 2,700 troops in Afghanistan, mostly off the front lines.
Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday he had agreed to a "limited" deployment of Italian troops to combat zones.
[...] Bush's critics say he has been so distracted by Iraq that he has neglected the Afghan war. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was opposed by Germany and France and sowed division in Europe, but bitterness has gradually subsided.[...]

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