Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday said “sorry” for an editorial attack on France’s first lady Carla Bruni for staying away from events organised for the Group of Eight summit.
Il Giornale newspaper, which is owned by Berlusconi’s brother, had accused the Italian wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy of “boorishness” for snubbing the official programme for G8 spouses.
“I was very upset and deeply sorry when I was told about the articles published in the Italian dailies, including Il Giornale, containing offensive remarks about Mme Carla Bruni, wife of the president of the French republic,” Berlusconi said in a statement.
He said the comments were “out of place” and expressed his “esteem and friendship” for Bruni and Sarkozy.
Bruni came in for withering criticism from the right-wing daily on Friday.
“Someone tell the first lady that snobbery to the nth degree where we come from is called boorishness,” the paper said.
G8 first ladies, including Michelle Obama, wife of US President Barack Obama, on Thursday toured L’Aquila, the Italian city devastated by an earthquake in April. Bruni planned to visit the disaster zone on Friday.
Bruni also stayed away from the first ladies’ audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday.