Zaki refuses the state flight: "bewilderment" at Palazzo Chigi for the 4 rejected proposals. Tajani: «You come back as he wants»

Zaki refuses the state flight: "bewilderment" at Palazzo Chigi for the 4 rejected proposals.  Tajani: «You come back as he wants»

Of Adriana Logroscino

Patrick Zaki also said no to the diplomatic escort and the trip with his family. Crosetto: «Personal choice, he also saved us some money»

A slight. Unexpected and which caused "bewilderment": this is how Patrick Zaki's choice not to accept any of the solutions for his return to Italy that had been offered to him by the government, through the ambassador in Cairo, Michele Quaroni, was experienced at Palazzo Chigi. All the more because the hypotheses made available to the Egyptian researcher, immediately after the pardon of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, were many and varied. All returned to sender.

"At the Farnesina we are used to everything", leaks from the Foreign Ministry. Then the same minister Antonio Tajani, pressed on the point, says: «We were interested in freeing Zaki and we worked in this direction. Then as he wants to return to Italy, he will come back. Opportunities had been offered to him, not obligation. His choice is his." A completely different tone from the one used in the hours immediately following the news of the pardon, when the Foreign Minister had celebrated the operation by calling it "a great team effort". And in the evening, Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said: "It's a personal choice, he also saved us money, so that's okay."

There were even four steps in the negotiation on how to return Zaki. First the availability of a state flight, refused. Hence the prospect of dedicated diplomatic accompaniment, rejected. He would have been offered the opportunity to travel with relatives anyway. But it would have been there photo opportunity - the almost certain eventuality, that is, that upon arrival he was taken a photo with the highest representatives of the government, Meloni and Tajani, whom Zaki also publicly thanked two days ago - to make the researcher choose to opt for the return by scheduled flight, direct to Milan and then continue towards Bologna.

Many denials, albeit polite, leave little doubt of Zaki's embarrassment in appearing alongside exponents of the Italian center-right. Thesis that the spokesman of Amnesty international, Riccardo Noury, tries to correct, who, while accrediting a political assessment, notes: "The reputation of a defender of human rights is based on independence from any type of government".

However, in the centre-right, the government's "bewilderment" takes the form of open accusations of disregard.
Maurice Gasparri, senator of FI, wonders "whether Zaki will find the time to thank the Italian government". While specularly in the oppositions there is a race to credit the no to the photo as Zaki's positioning: «Appreciable behavior, aware that the game is open for all dissidents still in prison», argues Luana Zanellagroup leader in the Chamber of Verdi and the Left. Maurizio Lupi, leader of We Moderates, tries to mediate by turning to Zaki to think again: «To the young Patrick, whom we embrace with affection, we would also like to remind you that saying "thank you" to those who have committed themselves to him or getting on a state flight is not a political act nor a choice of sides. It is only human gratitude and good manners».

In the meantime, the work of dialogue with the countries bordering the Mediterranean will continue tomorrow at the conference on migration organized by the Italian government in Rome, which will also be attended by the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Among many heads of state and government, there will be the Egyptian premier, Mustafa Madbouly.

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July 22, 2023 (change July 22, 2023 | 06:50)

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