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By Mick Krever and Claire Calzonetti, CNN
An Italian parliamentarian who compared that country’s first-ever black cabinet minister to an orangutan “has to go,” Italy’s prime minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
“It was a shock for Italy and for, of course, the public opinion,” Enrico Letta said. “You know, my choice to ask Cecile Kyenge to be minister was a choice very clear for the country. Italians have – they have to understand that the internal integration is one of the main issues for the future.”
Letta, who spoke with Amanpour in London after a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, said he had asked Roberto Calderoli, the vice president of Italy’s senate, to step down.
“It’s a shame,” Letta continued. “It’s really a shame, and I will continue to ask him to resign.”
It’s a controversy soon into Letta’s first term. An unlikely candidate, he assumed the office in April essentially by default, after months of political deadlock.
“The situation is looking more and more dire by the day,” Roula Khalaf, Middle East Editor for the Financial Times, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
She was speaking of Syria, where the U.N. now estimates 5,000 people are killed each month and from which 6,000 refugees flee every day.
“The regime is making gains on the ground,” Khalaf continued. “The whole idea that you make a political solution much more achievable if you alter the balance of power on the ground, we're not seeing that. We're seeing in fact the balance of power being altered in favor of the regime rather than in favor of the rebels.”
Click above to see the full conversation with Roula Khalaf, including why Bashar al-Assad is gleeful about the political chaos in Egypt.
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