Italian citizen Antonio Sottile, Honorary Consul of Belarus in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, has announced about his resignation. According to the Italian newspaper Gazzetta di Reggio, the manager of Reggio Emilia is leaving in opposition to Lukashenka’s policies.
Antonio Sottile’s resignation was prompted by a brutal crackdown on the Belarusian people, who peacefully marched against election fraud, calling for democracy and freedom. He said he chooses respect for human rights, so he wants nothing more to do with Lukashenka.
When asked why the consul made the decision to resign, he said:
“I spoke with the office of Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and with the Belarusian embassy in Italy. My choice is a choice of conscience, because I firmly believe in the values my parents gave me and which I pass on to my three children: democracy, freedom, respect for human rights and non-violence. In Belarus, more than 27,000 people have been arrested and subjected to intimidation, harassment and torture. Dozens have gone missing and five have died defending their rights.”
Summing up his consular work, Antonio Sottile said that he had been consul for almost ten years and fulfilled his mandate with maximum commitment and fairness both from the economic and commercial point of view, developing business in Belarus with Italian companies, and from the humanitarian point of view. Together with various associations he organized the reception of children from Charnobyl in Italian families.
“It was a project that filled me with joy because in Italy these children can get rid of more than 50% of the radiation that is in their bodies,” Antonio added.
Antonio told that many of his friends are in Belarus, and now he can proudly say that for the first time Belarusians became not an object but a subject of history; he advised to continue peaceful demonstration of one word: freedom.
Antonio Sottile has been Honorary Consul of Belarus in the region since November 2011.