ROME - Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has denied having an improper relationship with an 18-year-old woman at the heart of a political and personal scandal.

During a meeting at his office today, Berlusconi repeated previous denials, saying that if someone asked if he had "a spicy or more than spicy" relationship with a minor, his answer would be "absolutely not."

He says if he lied about the relationship he would have to resign.

"I swore this on the heads of my children and I said I am aware that, should I have committed perjury, I would have to resign a minute later," he said.

The opposition has been clamouring for clarification ever since the media revealed the 72-year-old premier attended the 18th birthday party of Noemi Letizia in Naples.

The incident was cited by Berlusconi's wife, Veronica Lario, when she announced earlier this month that she would divorce the conservative premier.

There have been no legal proceedings related to the issue.

Berlusconi has denied there was anything scandalous in his relations with Letizia, whom he has described as the daughter of a friend from political circles.

He has said he stopped by the party because he happened to be in Naples that day.

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