Rome

Bossi says Kyenge was treated badly

Northern League founder reaches out to minister

Bossi says Kyenge was treated badly

Rome, August 7 - The disgraced former leader of the Northern League, which has launched numerous attacks on Italy's first black cabinet minister, said Wednesday that he wanted to shake her hand. "There is no doubt, Kyenge has been treated badly," Umberto Bossi said of Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge. "If the minister would agree...I would shake her hand," Bossi said in an interview with television network La7. In the four months since her appointment to cabinet, Kyenge has faced numerous racial slurs and abuse, often from Northern League politicians including a League senator. However, Bossi added, that does not mean he agrees with her efforts to reform Italy's immigration policies. Bossi, who founded the anti-immigration League, resigned as leader last year amid a corruption probe and continues to battle with the current leadership. The League had invited Kyenge to a party event this month, but she declined due to the amount of racial abuse she has suffered from League members. Kyenge said she was snubbing the event after League party leader and Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni failed to "stigmatize" the repeated attacks she has suffered. However, the Congolese-born minister said in a statement that she "remained opened to dialogue and debate, as long as the proper conditions exist for this". (photo: Umberto Bossi )

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