Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
BRUSSELS

>>>ANSA/ 'Dark areas' in Kazakh deportation still plague govt +r

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Brussels, July 22 - Italy's foreign minister said
Monday there "were still some dark areas" in the case of a
Kazakh dissident's family deported from Rome, suggesting
resolution in the embarrassing affair is still far off for
Italy's fragile and divided left-right administration.
"Other offices need to shed light on them," added Emma
Bonino as she entered a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs
Council in Brussels.
The Italian Senate on Friday rejected a no-confidence
motion in Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano
over the expulsion of Alma Shalabayeva, wife of Kazakh oligarch
and political opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, and their
six-year-old daughter, who were apprehended in a nighttime raid
by Italian police late in May.
They were rushed onto a private jet with Kazakh diplomats
and flown back to a country whose human-rights record has been
questioned by several organisations.
Alfano's chief of staff at the interior ministry resigned
over the scandal last week.
Premier Enrico Letta's left-right fragile government would
have been in peril if Alfano had failed to pass the confidence
test.
Before the vote, Letta called on Senators to reject the
motion, saying it was "clear" Alfano had nothing to do with the
expulsion following the results of an internal investigation.
He argued that rejecting the motion was a vote of
confidence in his executive, which is based on an unprecedented
alliance between his centre-left Democratic Party, the biggest
group in parliament, and their long-standing bitter rivals in
the PdL.
Letta told the Senate that his government was not
underestimating the importance of the case, saying it was a
cause for "embarrassment and disrepute" for Italy.
But he stressed that no one in the higher levels of
government knew about the deportation until after it took place
and stressed that the administration had behaved with "total
transparency".
Extra attention has centered around Alfano because he is
also the secretary of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL)
party of Silvio Berlusconi, who during his stints as premier
helped foster lucrative commercial ties between Italy and
energy-rich Kazakhstan.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, considered an
autocrat by rights groups for his crackdowns on opposition
groups, is a staunch political rival of Ablyazov.
Kazakhstan insists Ablyazov, a banker, is not a dissident
but an outlaw wanted for a multi-billion-euro embezzlement case
at his BTA Bank.
Since the deportation of his family, the Italian government
was pressured by opposition political parties at home to review
the case, in which it ultimately decided to reverse the
expulsion order.
Its review also found irregularities in the protocol
followed by Kazakhstan's ambassador to Rome, Adrian Yelemessov,
who pressured the interior ministry to hand over Ablyazov's kin.
The Italian foreign ministry "is still considering"
expelling him, Bonino said Monday.
"My first concern is to not weaken our presence in (the
Kazakh capital of) Astana by reacting," she added, in what was
interpreted as a hint to Kazakh officials to withdraw its
ambassador on its own.
If Italy were to expel him, there is a strong likelihood
that Kazakhstan would expel the Italian ambassador to Astana.
Last week Bonino met with Kazakhstan's charge d'affaires to
ask for an explanation as to why the foreign ministry was never
contacted.
On Monday she said that the European Union was "amply
informed" of the case.
"The EU presidency has furthermore guaranteed to...monitor
the situation," she said.

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