“I hope Staffan de Mistura will be bringing the Chamber good news about the marines on 13 November”. This was Foreign Minister Emma Bonino’s comment on the Repubblica TV video-forum, where she was answering readers’ questions on key issues on the international agenda. But the foreign minister stopped short of announcing a definitive turning-point in the situation of the two riflemen, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone. It does seem, however, that some progress has been made. On Wednesday 13 November the government’s special envoy will inform the joint Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees on the steps being taken to help them.
“I prefer a policy of results and I believe that maintaining the utmost reserve, which is not the same as secrecy, can provide more protection. I hope that de Mistura will report on all of our lengthy efforts. We are a complex country when it comes administering justice: so is India”.
Some readers are asking if you remember the riflemen’s names
To find out how much attention the government is dedicating to them.
“I know their names and I don’t want to say them. Because I’ve got 3120 Italians in foreign jails. I find it disproportionate that people only discuss the ones who appear in the press. I don’t want the others to feel that they’re any less protected”
You seem to be evoking the Cancellieri case. In your view, is that dossier closed?
“People made the same observation on the Shalabayeva-Alfano case. As far as I’m concerned, Cancellieri’s reconstruction of events is convincing. However, I’d prefer to see the prison question kept open even after all the clamour has died down”.
And what about Shalabayeva? What are you doing for her?
“We spent all of August supporting that lady, by submitting a request to the Kazakh authorities for her to be allowed freedom of movement. The Kazakh foreign minister replied, after two months, that he will do everything possible to ensure that her trial for passport falsification is held soon and that she can therefore enjoy that freedom”.
Father Dall’Oglio was kidnapped in Syria in July. Can you tell us if he’s alive?
“Our lines of communication are fragile; the region has become one of hostility and fury. But at least we have no evidence that he’s been killed”.
And then there’s Giovanni Lo Porto, an aid worker who disappeared 19 months ago in Pakistan.
“We’re in contact with his family but we’ve no information”.
You had planned to have a meeting in Rome with the Iranian foreign minister, Zarif, who’s engaged in the nuclear negotiations in Geneva. In the end you spoke on the phone. Why?
“Because the dialogue has entered a promising but delicate stage. The hope is to conclude within a week, or to leave out just one round of talks”.
What will the outcome of the talks be?
“We can’t say yet. The Iranians’ goal is for the sanctions to be cancelled. We need to see what they offer in exchange”.
How is Italy monitoring the situation in Egypt? Many tour operators are asking why it’s still subject to a travel warning.
“The situation in Egypt is one of the most complex. On 15 November the government should be ending the state of emergency. As foreign minister, I act on the basis of the information I receive. Italians in Egypt will make their own free decision on whether or not to leave”.
Let’s talk about immigration. How can the European Union’s promises of greater collaboration be translated into practice?
“We need to continue to ensure that Europe takes responsibility for the question of all of its southern borders”.