ROME (MNI) – Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has firmly
denied reports of his imminent resignation and said he will attach a
confidence motion to a budget vote scheduled to take place in Parliament
on Tuesday, Italian newspaper Libero reported on its website.

The paper said that in a telephone call to its office, Berlusconi
declared: “I don’t understand how these rumors of my resignation have
circulated. They are completely groundless.”

He said that during the budget vote Tuesday he will add a motion of
confidence in a letter his government sent recently to the European
Union and the European Central Bank, outlining the fiscal measures and
reforms it planned to implement in order to address the spiraling debt

“I want to look right into the face of those who attempt to betray
me,” he was quoted as saying.

Berlusconi appears to be defying not only his political antagonists
but also financial markets.

Earlier today, yields on Italy’s 10-year bonds soared to a euro-era
high of 6.72%, the highest level since August 1997, on worries that
Italy won’t enact the reforms needed to control its massive debt.

The report that Berlusconi planned to resign briefly reversed the
market trend, though Berlusconi’s denial, affirmed by a close associate,
ended the brief recovery. Italian 10-year yields were last trading
around 6.55%, off the day’s high but still well into the danger zone for

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