This morning the Chechen Health Minister, Umar Khanbiev, held a press conference at the Regional Council of Piedmont, attended among others by Sen. Enrico Buemi (SDI), the Hon. Gianni Vernetti (Margherita), and the regional councillors Lido Riba (DS, Vice President of the Regional Council), Francesco Toselli (Forza Italia, Vice President of the Regional Council), Giacomo Rossi (Federalisti Liberali), Ennio Galasso (AN), Cristiano Bussola (FI), Rocchino Muliere (DS), and Alessandro Di Benedetto (Margherita).

At the end of the press conference, Umar Khanbiev issued the following statement:

“After hearing and giving his personal backing to the reasons of Mr Putin, Mr Berlusconi should also allow President Aslan Maskhadov to set out the reasons of the Chechen people; Mr Maskhadov is willing to meet Mr Berlusconi, whenever and wherever the Italian Prime Minister chooses.
I believe that anyone who listens in good faith to the words of the Chechen government cannot fail to recognise that the alleged ‘myths’ correspond to the planned and systematic extermination of my people, while Mr Putin’s ‘truths’ are like those invented and propagandised for 70 years by the Soviet regime.”

After the packed meetings in Turin, Umar Khanbiev (accompanied by the Radical MEP Olivier Dupuis and the Radical regional councillor Carmelo Palma) will be speaking at 5.30 this afternoon at the Provincial Council of Genoa (Largo Eros Lanfranco, entrance from the Prefettura/Palazzo del Governo).

Meetings will also be held in the following cities:
- FLORENCE, Wednesday 12 November, 9 p.m., Grand Hotel Adriatico (Via Maso Finiguerra, 9);
- SIENA, Thursday 13 November, 3 p.m., Provincial Council of Siena, Palazzo della Provincia (Piazza Duomo, 9);
- PERUGIA, Friday 14 November, 4 p.m., Provincial Council of Perugia (Sala della Partecipazione, Piazza Italia, 2nd floor);
- FANO, Saturday 15 November, 10 a.m., Town Hall;
- PESARO, Saturday 15 November, 5 p.m., at the Town Hall (Sala Rossa, Piazza del Popolo, 1).

During the meetings Minister Khanbiev will illustrate the new Peace Plan of the Chechen government. An appeal in support of the Peace Plan, launched by the Transnational Radical Party, has already been signed by over 11,000 people from more than 80 countries, including hundreds of members of the European and national parliaments, local administrators, and scores of personalities from the world of culture, politics and the media.

During the debates there will be a projection of the film Grozny: il 51 by Mylène Sauloy (duration 26 minutes), and it will be possible to purchase copies of the book Chechnya. Nella morsa dell'Impero, edited by the Chechnya Committee of Paris, with an introduction by Olivier Dupuis, published by Guerini e Associati.

The international appeal in support of the Chechen Peace Plan can be signed on the TRP website: Signatories include André Glucksmann, Emma Bonino, Elena Bonner-Sakharov, Adriano Sofri, Barbara Spinelli, Ismail Kadaré, Vytantas Landsbergis, Marco Pannella, Walter Veltroni, Otto d'Asburgo, Marek Edelman, Vladimir Bukovsky, Michel Rocard, Bernard Kouchner, Wei Jingsheng, Isabelle Adjani and Jas Gawronsky; in Piedmont: Sergio Chiamparino and Giampiero Leo.
For further information please contact: 348-5335301 (Palma)