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Italy bid to end spat with Germany

Rome, July 12 (Reuters): Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to draw a line under Italy’s latest spat with Germany today, saying matters were settled now that a junior minister had resigned after insulting Germans and their country.

He also said that while German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had decided to cancel this year’s family holiday in Italy because of the affair, the chancellor would return to Italy for next year’s vacation.

Stefano Stefani, an undersecretary in charge of tourism, resigned late yesterday — a week after he called Germans “arrogant hyper-nationalistic blondes” — following pressure from Berlusconi and Schroeder himself.

“Stefani has tendered his resignation and I have accepted it,” Berlusconi said at a late-night dinner for Brussels-based correspondents that dragged into the early hours. The Prime Minister said he had spoken with Schroeder, who earlier called for Stefani to be sacked, and agreed that the affair would not affect relations between the countries.

The German Chancellor, plans to go to there for family holidays next year after cancelling plans for this year’s Italian holiday after Stefani’s insults, he added.

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