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POLITICS

Milan mayor back at work after self-suspension over corruption probe

Milan's centre-left mayor Giuseppe Sala was back at his desk on Tuesday, saying he had been assured he was not seriously implicated in a corruption probe which had led him to temporarily step down.

Milan mayor back at work after self-suspension over corruption probe
Giuseppe Sala. Photo: AFP

Sala said a meeting between his lawyers and prosecutors looking into suspected corruption linked to the award of contracts for Expo 2015 had established he was not accused of any abuse of power in his former role as head organizer of the world fair.

“Therefore I'm back at work sure in the knowledge that an accusation of which I am innocent will have no bearing on my role,” Sala wrote on his Facebook page.

He did not specify what the accusation was but press reports have suggested it was connected with the retrospective dating of tender documents and suspicious pricing of one of the largest contracts.

Probity in public life is a hot topic in Italian politics at the moment with the opposition Five Star Movement riding high on a populist platform which, among other things, promises high ethical standards for its elected representatives.

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POLITICS

Italy’s Meloni in Libya to discuss energy, migration

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived Saturday in the Libyan capital Tripoli for talks on energy as well as the thorny issue of migration, Libyan state media said.

Italy's Meloni in Libya to discuss energy, migration

Meloni’s trip — her second to a North African country this week — is the first by a European leader to war-battered Libya since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit in April 2021.

State television said the Italian premier was received by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who heads the Tripoli-based, UN brokered Government of National Unity which is contested by a rival administration in the east.

Libya and its former colonial power Italy are key trade partners, particularly in energy, where Italian giant Eni plays a major role in tapping into Africa’s largest known oil reserves.

Meloni was accompanied by Eni chief Claudio Descalzi, who is expected to sign a deal with Libya’s National Oil Company to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields.

Eni will invest $8 million in the two fields, NOC chief Farhat Bengdara said in televised remarks this week, adding they are expected to produce 850 million cubic metres of gas.

Meloni visited Algeria on Monday seeking supply deals from Africa’s top gas exporter to help reduce reliance on Russia after it invaded Ukraine last year.

During her trip to Libya, she is also expected to discuss the issue of migration amid rising numbers of irregular migrants from Libya to Italy.

Libya has been wracked by years of conflict and division since a NATO-backed revolt toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country is a conduit for thousands of people each year fleeing conflict and poverty across Africa, seeking refuge across the Mediterranean in Europe.

Meloni’s far-right government took office in October, vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which reached more than 105,000 in 2022.

The central Mediterranean route is considered the world’s most treacherous, according to the International Organization for Migration, which estimated that 1,377 migrants had disappeared on that route last year.

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