Under-fire Renzi says he will explain Saudi visit

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(ANSA) – ROME, FEB 1 – Ex-premier Matteo Renzi has promised
to explain his controversial trip to Saudi Arabia last week once
Italy’s government crisis is over.
    Senator Renzi, whose centrist Italia Viva (IV) party triggered
the crisis, has come under heavy fire for interviewing Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the country’s annual
Future Investment Initiative (FII) event in Riyadh.
    At one point Renzi said he thought the Middle Eastern country
could be the home of a “New Renaissance”.
    Critics highlighted the country’s human rights record and the
murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul in 2018.
    Anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano said via social media at the
weekend that “Matteo Renzi should have the dignity to leave our
country’s public life”.
    Renzi has said he will give a press conference the week after
the end of the government crisis to explain his “international
positions” and his ideas about Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
    Last week Italy halted the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates over their involvement in the conflict in
ravaged Yemen. (ANSA).


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