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Monti meets president for urgent talks on Sicily, bills

Premier said region risks default

18 July, 14:57
Monti meets president for urgent talks on Sicily, bills (ANSA) - Rome, July 18 - Premier Mario Monti met President Giorgio Napolitano in Rome on Wednesday for what the head of state described beforehand as "an urgent meeting".

ANSA sources said the two men were having talks on the situation on heavily indebted Sicily and on government bills in parliament regarding economic reforms to help Italy haul itself out of the debt crisis.

On Tuesday Monti sent a letter to Sicilian Governor Raffaele Lombardo asking him to confirm his plans to resign by the end of this month, stressing the urgency of the situation as the region risks defaulting.

Italy's Audit Court said the region has debts of 21 billion euros. Lombardo is facing charges of colluding with the mafia and announced in May that he was resigning. Prosecutors in April presented a request to try Lombardo and his brother Angelo, an MP for Lombardo's Movimento per l'Autonomia (MpA) party, for allegedly swapping votes for favors with Vincenzo Aiello, a prominent member of the powerful Catania-based Santapaola clan. Lombardo, who is set to meet Monti next Tuesday, has denied the accusations.