Italian family refuses to return Belarussian girl

MINSK/GENOA. Sept 20 (Interfax) - An Italian family that adopted a girl from Belarus has refused to return the child following negotiations between representatives of the Italian government and the family's lawyers, Belarussian Ambassador to Italy Alexei Skripko told Interfax.

"Talks between the deputy justice minister of Italy and the family's lawyers, which were attended by the Liguria governor and a Genoa court's representative for underage children, produced no results. The family's position remains uncompromising: they will take a decision that will allow the girl to stay in Italy for at least one year for medical treatment. [The Italian family's] presence is crucial to the girl's psychological rehabilitation," he said.

"The result of the mediators' efforts was negative," the ambassador said.

"The Italian government will soon formulate its position on a solution to the issue in accordance with Italian legislation, international law and bilateral agreements with Belarus," Skripko said.

The Belarussian Foreign Ministry has forwarded a letter to the Italian Foreign Ministry describing the situation as the "deliberate abduction of a child," he said.

Skripko said he was returning from Genoa to Rome to hold negotiations with the Italian government "to sort out the situation in compliance with the law in the near future."