Ekho Kavkaza -- On Wednesday, February 9th, an online press conference dedicated to Abkhazia was held in the Italian Parliament, which was joined by President Aslan Bzhania. The chief of staff of the World Abaza Congress and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Kan Tania told Ekho Kavkaza what was discussed in Rome.
On Wednesday, in the Italian Parliament in Rome, a press conference was held by MP Matteo del Osso, a member of the Forza Italia (Forward, Italy) party. The topic of the meeting was: “The right of peoples to self-determination. Abkhazia and Greater Europe. The event was organized by the diplomatic representation of Abkhazia in Italy.
President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress Mussa Ekzekov spoke at the press conference online.
Mussa Ekzekov (right) and Kan Tania at the online press conference of Italian MP Matteo Dall-Osso.
Kan Tania, head of the staff of the World Abaza Congress and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, spoke about how it went and what questions were raised at it . He said that it was a violation of the basic rights of citizens of Abkhazia to freedom of movement and access to education. The possibilities of cooperation were also discussed, in particular, the economic and trade-potential of Abkhazia, and its strategic and geo-strategic position.
According to Kan Tania, the purpose of this and other similar events is to convey objective information about Abkhazia, and the key-task is to make its voice heard at the highest levels - state and public - of the European Union and the world at large.
Kan Tania told how he managed to captivate the deputy of the Italian parliament Matteo del Osso with the Abkhaz problems:
“Over time, Abkhazia in Italy has more and more friends thanks to the work of the diplomatic mission, in particular, thanks to the Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Vito Grittani, deputy Mateo del Osso. He is from the Forza Italia party and became one of our friends. In November 2021, Vito Grittani and another friend of ours, a public figure and head of the Cantiere Laboratorio cultural association Vittoria Gigliotti, together organized a presentation of Abkhazia in southern Italy in the city of Lamezia Terme, where I also linked up on-line and made a presentation of Abkhazia. We also invited Matteo del Osso to this event; he came, listened to information about Abkhazia and became imbued with the history of the people in their struggle for freedom and justice. And from that moment on, he agreed to help us convey objective information about Abkhazia in Italy.”
President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania during an online press conference.
Of the seven accredited journalists, only four took part in the press-conference, the rest, according to Kan Tania, could not come due to the opposition of the Georgian side:
“Journalists from various publications and parties were invited, but, as far as we know, even in the evening after the official announcement of the event on the website of the Parliament, Georgian diplomats sent a note to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and, apparently, in some way this influenced the fact that journalists who were accredited did not attend. Seven journalists were accredited, but in fact four were present. One is an Italian journalist from our diplomatic mission, and the others are freelancers who write for various publications. But in any case, the coverage of the event was large, and more than a hundred people watched the on-line broadcast. We give a lot of interviews, spread as much information as possible. Articles in Italian will be published in the coming days.”
The press conference: “The right of peoples to self-determination. Abkhazia and Greater Europe.
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Of all the questions raised, Kan Tania called the lack of a mechanism for influencing cases of violation of the rights of citizens of Abkhazia to freedom of movement and education to be the most important among the deputies of the Italian parliament:
“One of the journalists asked the deputies and those present in the presidium why there are no mechanisms that could somehow resolve the issue of violation of the rights of citizens of Abkhazia to free movement and education in Europe? In my opinion, it was a very correct and timely question. This question was partially answered by me, partially by Deputy Matteo del Osso and his geopolitical adviser Suomi Monsellato. She said that, in fact, MPs do not have any tools to make independent decisions regarding individual countries, because foreign policy activities are coordinated by the European Union (Brussels). She added that it is necessary to develop some kind of scheme whereby the deputies of the Italian Parliament would have the opportunity to independently decide with which peoples they can communicate and build relationships, and with which not."
The reaction to the meeting in Rome, Kan Tania noted, was twofold: in Abkhazia they rejoiced at the success, whilst Georgian users expressed indignation on social networks:
“At the moment, the reaction is the most positive both in Abkhazia and in Italy, with the exception of some user-comments on social networks. Let's just say that some kind of fire, some flame just snakes in their mouths, and they are indignant. Well, for example, in the Georgian Facebook segment, using a translator, you can understand that the citizens of Georgia are indignant at the fact that the Georgian embassy in Italy is sleeping, doing nothing. They do not understand how such an event became possible? Well what can we say? This is absolutely a standard, normal reaction for us. Instead of having a civilized dialogue, of course, it is easier to ask your public servants to try to ban and cancel everything. But it did not succeed and is unlikely to succeed, because when we organize such things, we do them in such a way that with a high degree of probability the event cannot be disrupted by external factors, by external pressure.
“The President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress Musa Ekzekov took part in the online press-conference. Their presence significantly raised the level of the event and demonstrated Abkhazia's interest in an open dialogue with other countries,” Kan Tania said.
“It is important for us that the voice of Abkhazia and our opinion, which differs from Georgian propaganda, be heard on such high platforms, and the participation of the President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania and Musa Ekzekov demonstrates a commitment to expanding the circle of countries recognizing the sovereignty of Abkhazia,” he concluded.
This article was published by Ekho Kavkaza on April 13, 2021, and is translated from Russian.