The Italian newspaper Il Goglio has offered a chest-beating apology to Azerbaijan for running earlier this month a sensationalist piece that alleged "informal meetings" between Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko. Citing its "imprudence" in using "unconfirmed information" from WikiLeaks, the newspaper now says the story was untrue. “Our sources turned out completely unreliable and, in essence, our article does not deserve attention and is absolutely unreliable in its form and content,” reads an excerpt from the retraction translated by Azerbaijani news outlets. “We hope that the wonderful relations and mutual sympathy and good feelings that exist between the Italian and Azerbaijani people will not suffer for a moment because of our journalistic mistake.” The story nearly caused bad blood between Italy and Azerbaijan, where Aliyeva is widely revered and not the subject of public criticism, even by the country's political opposition.
Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.
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