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Talks on telecoms deal planned

THE ITALIAN Treasury Minister, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (pictured), is expected to hold talks over the merger of Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom with his German counterpart, Hans Eichel, during the IMF meeting in Washington today amid a continued dispute over the German government's control of the Telekom.

In Milan yesterday, Communications Minister Salvatore Cardinale said the proposed merger was an opportunity "we must try not to let slip by", but said Italy needed assurances there would be parity in the new entity. A decision over the Italian government's golden share in Telecom Italia, which could be used to block the deal, is expected soon.