Brussels

Kazakhstan warns of retaliation if Rome ambassador expelled

Deputy premier says Astana would 'react'

Kazakhstan warns of retaliation if Rome ambassador expelled

Brussels, July 24 – Kazakhstan on Wednesday warned that it will retaliate if its ambassador to Rome is expelled over the pressure he allegedly exerted pressure at the interior ministry for the expulsion from Italy of a dissident's family. "Let's see what happens," Deputy Premier Yerbol Orynbayev said in Brussels during a news conference. But, he added, "if there is an official decision (in Rome), Kazakhstan will react". There have been suggestions that the Italian government could expel Andrian Yelemessov for behaviour that Premier Enrico Letta has described as "unheard-of". Alma Shalabayeva, wife of Kazakh oligarch and touted dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, and their six-year-old daughter were forcibly removed from Rome and sent back to Kazakhstan in May. A major scandal has erupted in Rome around the case. Orynbayev also denied the situation has made the Kazakh ambassador to Italy "useless". Foreign Minister Emma Bonino had suggestion that the controversy has rendered the Kazakh ambassador useless to assist his country in Italy.

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