Egypt, Italy revive diplomatic relations after 18-month rift



Tue, 05 Sep 2017 - 06:00 GMT


Tue, 05 Sep 2017 - 06:00 GMT

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid - File photo

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid - File photo

ROME – 5 September 2017: Ongoing negotiations are being held between Egypt and Italy over the revival of bilateral diplomatic ties concerning the return of Italy’s ambassador to Cairo by mid-September, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Monday.

Abu Zeid added that Egypt’s new ambassador to Rome, Hisham Badr, will also assume his position at the same time. This comes as a move to strengthen Egyptian-Italian relations following an 18-month period of tension between the two countries after the mysterious murder of an Italian student, Giulio Regeni, in Egypt last year, Abu Zeid said.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano announced that Giampaolo Cantini will be the new ambassador to Cairo starting September 14, citing progress in cooperation in the investigation of the Italian student murder case.

Alfano said that relations with Egypt were a necessity when commenting on the Regeni case and the recent decision to send an ambassador to Cairo.

"It's impossible for countries that are in front of each other not to have high-level political and diplomatic relations," Alfano told a joint session of the Lower House and Senate foreign affairs committees.

Alfano told parliament that "Egypt is an inextricable partner of Italy, like Italy is an inextricable partner of Egypt."

He said the case was "a serious injury for our conscience, for all of us and for the whole country." He admitted that "the day the body of Regeni was found, bilateral relations suffered a big blow."

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stressed to a delegation led by the Italian Senate’s defense committee head, Nicola Latorre, Egypt's "full commitment" to finding Regeni's killers and underscored the "importance of continuing cooperation" between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors on the case.

The parties reviewed developments in the Regeni case, and Sisi reaffirmed the importance of continuing "close and continuous" cooperation between Italian and Egyptian investigators.



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