Ahmadinejad expected in Rome for UN food summit: Report

May 28th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by admin  

Rome, May 27 (DPA) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected in Rome next week to attend a summit hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Italian media said Wednesday. Ahmadinejad is also seeking to meet Pope Benedict XVI during the visit, Rome-based daily La Repubblica said.

Iran’s embassy to the Vatican neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Italian media, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, said it was highly unlikely that Benedict would meet Ahmadinejad.

However, they said possible talks between the Iranian leader and the Vatican’s number two official, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone were being explored.

A trip by Ahmadinejad to Rome for the June 3-5 FAO summit would be his first to a European Union (EU) nation since his 2005 election, and only his second to the West - he visited New York in September 2007.

On Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini appeared to rule out any bilateral meeting between Ahmadinejad and Italian leaders, including Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

“We cannot multiply bilateral meetings and at this moment I don’t have confirmation that President Ahamdinejad will be in Rome for the (FAO) conference,” Frattini told reporters.

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