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Enrico Letta

An Interview With Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta

Enrico Letta 33%

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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who met with President Obama on Thursday, spoke with Lally Weymouth beforehand about Italy's efforts to emerge from recession and spark growth.

Excerpts:

 

Lally Weymouth: What will you discuss during your meeting with President Obama?

Enrico Letta: We have to reaffirm the strategic interest of our friendship—Italy and the U.S. We have to work together on many issues. We share the fact that after five years of crisis and austerity in Europe and the world, we need to have years of growth. Second, the main concern is instability.

 

L.W.: Are you worried about refugees coming into Italy if Syria continues to be so unstable?

E.L.: We are, because the situation today is out of control in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. We had a terrible tragedy [of refugees drowning] around Lampedusa [an island south of Sicily] some days ago. We [have] decided ... Italian ships and aircraft will patrol the sea between Libya, Lampedusa, and Malta.

 

L.W.: Is that to let immigrants in or keep them out?

E.L.: To rescue them if their ships capsize. We had a rescue operation two days ago saving 150 people, children and women. And of course we have to block the Libyan human traffickers—those who are creating these ships.

 

L.W.: You want to stop the organizers?

E.L.: The main problem is that Libya today is a weak country, so it is very difficult to deal with them but absolutely necessary to help. First, we must rescue people in the sea because we can't [allow] the Mediterranean to become a sort of death sea. Secondly, we also have to deal with the failure of some states, like Syria. We want to deal with refugees. In our constitution there is the right to accept refugees. The main problem is that we had a big change in migration trends. ... Ten years ago the migration trends were completely focused on economic reasons. Today, more than half are refugees from failed states.

...

 

 

By Lally Weymouth

Oct. 17 2013

Read full interview: www.slate.com

2013-10-19


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