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February 22, 2003

Rome Mayor Snubs Aziz After Anti-Israel Comment

Who says all politicians are lacking in ethics? I found this happy article at the American Kaiser
ROME (Reuters) - The mayor of Rome snubbed Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz Sunday, canceling their scheduled meeting after Aziz refused to answer a question from an Israeli journalist at a news conference.

Mayor Walter Veltroni, who was due to meet Aziz Sunday morning before the Iraqi left Italy to return to Baghdad, delivered the news in a stern letter.

"I'm writing to inform you that I find myself obliged to cancel our meeting," Veltroni wrote, according to a copy of the letter sent to Reuters.

"The reason is because of your refusal to answer a question posed to you by an Israeli journalist at a news conference held at the Foreign Press Association (on Friday)," it continued.

"Rome, Mr. deputy prime minister, has always had absolute respect for dialogue and the civil exchange of ideas, not to mention, obviously, freedom of opinion and free access to information," the center-left mayor wrote.

"I cannot accept that a public figure like yourself, the representative of another country, can set a veto and discriminate against someone, denying them the right to express themselves, no matter what position they may represent."[more]