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Shalabayeva back thanks to govt says Bonino

FM rejoices with Kazakh dissident's wife, children

27 December, 15:03
Shalabayeva back thanks to govt says Bonino (see previous).

(ANSA) - Rome, December 27 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino met with Alma Shalabayeva, the wife of Kazakh oligarch and political dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, and celebrated with her and her children her return to Italy on Friday over six months after being expelled in a controversial operation.

"I was happy to share with Mrs Shalabayeva and her children the joy of being back here in Rome," Bonino told reporters.

"At the start of June it really seemed impossible to achieve this result, but we were able to do so thanks to the determined and constant action of the government and the parliamentary forces," said Bonino.

Touching down at Rome's Fiumicino Airport earlier, Shalabayeva thanked Bonino, the foreign ministry and the media for enabling her to return to Italy.

"I'm very happy to be in Italy. Thank you everyone". Shalabayeva and her young child Alua were deported on a private jet to Kazakhstan after they were seized in May in a raid on a villa in Rome by Italian police following pressure from Kazakh officials, causing a major international scandal.

Italy repealed her expulsion order after it emerged Shalabayeva had the legal right to reside here.

Shalabayeva was able to leave Kazakhstan after the authorities in Astana this week lifted restrictions on her movements, following lobbying from Bonino.

Shalabayeva landed in Rome with Alua and her two older children, Madina and Aldyiar, were waiting for them in Rome when they arrived, shortly before heading to the foreign ministry.