In Italy amongst tight security Muamaar Gadaffi made his first state visit to the former colonial ruler.Italy had pulled out all the stops to welcome Gadaffi as the two nations develop close business ties. In a particularly poignant moment on his three day stay he met the families of people he had expelled from Libya over thirty years ago. One of them revealed what had been said after the meeting. ‘Gaddafi told us that he was forced to expel us and that by doing so he saved our lives because the Libyan people wanted top kill us. So to save us he also confiscated all our property,’ he said.
The Libyan leader later embarassed his hosts failing to show up for a meeting organised in his honour by politicans in the country’s lower house. The conference was subsequently cancelled with the Gianfranco Fini Speaker of Italy’s lower house explaining why. ‘This delay wasn’t justified to the president of the deputy chamber. This is the reason why, taking my responsability and in respect to the role of the Parliament in a democratic country like Italy, I consider this meeting cancelled.’ Controversy was never far from the Libyan leader’s visit. At one stage hewore a photo of a legendary Libyan resistance hero executed by Italians pinned to his chest. Despite that this first state visit has been deemed a succes as the two nations have developed stronger commercial links.