The Italian Prime Minister has used his visit to Washington to attack his critics at home. Silvio Berlusconi claims George Bush fears a victory for the left in next year’s elections will see Rome withdraw its troops from Iraq.
But his comments have been widely criticised in the Italian press with some accusing Washington of meddling in Italy’s domestic affairs. Others have mocked Berlusconi as being ineffectual as his warnings about going to war in Iraq were ignored by the US President. The Italian leader also rejected accusations at home that Italy’s intelligence agency produced false documents that claimed Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger in the run-up to the war. “The data came, as the Bush administration and the CIA confirmed, from Great Britain, so I can confirm that no documents were given to the Americans, and that all the allegations over Nigergate are unfounded,” he said.