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Libyan leader's Italian visit sparks controversy

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Libyan leader's Italian visit sparks controversy


Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been addressing senators in Rome on his first ever visit to Italy.

The dictator’s trip has sparked controversy in Rome where he has been warmly greeted by politicians and the business community hoping to develop ties with Tripoli, but has also faced protests by critics of his country’s human rights record. The speech had to be moved from the Senate to a nearby building after left-wing lawmakers opposed his address. Rome is hoping to secure a number of business deals with Tripoli, a former colony and long-time business partner, for Italian companies suffering from the economic crisis. Libya already supplies one quarter of Italy’s oil. Immigration will also be top of the agenda – an issue shared by the two countries as tens of thousands of asylum seekers leave Libya’s coast every year heading for Italy. Earlier this year, Rome passed what human rights groups called “a dirty deal” with Tripoli, allowing Italy to deport illegal immigrants rescued in Libyan waters back to Libya.

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