FILE - Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gestures during a news conference in Rome, Italy July 5, 2018 - Reuters/Tony Gentile
CAIRO – 5 December 2018: Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini affirmed his keenness to maintain ties with Egypt, amid recent strains during investigations on the murder of an Italian citizen in Cairo in 2016.
"We have been waiting for three years. I want to maintain good relations with Egypt and I will do everything to have good economic, cultural, commercial and social relations with a friendly country," Salvini stated, according to Radio Colonna on Tuesday.
Rome’s Deputy Public Prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco announced continuing cooperation with Egypt in the ongoing investigation into the killing of 28-year old Giulio Regeni, a doctoral researcher who was tortured and killed in Cairo. His body was discovered in February 2016.
Italy’s Chamber of Deputies decided on Dec. 29 to halt all diplomatic relations with Egypt’s Parliament until there is a breakthrough and trial in the case of Regeni.
According to the Italian news agency of ANSA, the speaker of Italian Parliament Roberto Fico said on Friday that there will be complete suspension of diplomatic relations with the Egyptian Parliament due to the slow and inconclusive investigations of the murdered Italian student.
“With great regret I announce that Montecitorio will suspend all kinds of diplomatic relations with the Egyptian Parliament until there is a real turning point in the investigation concerning the murder of Giulio Regeni,” Fico said.
Immediately following the Italian unilateral decision, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal expressed dissatisfaction with the Italian Parliament’s move, saying that a unilateral decision won’t help with the results of the investigations and won’t affect the Egyptian-Italian strong relations.
Italian tourism to Egypt
An official source in the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism said in May that Egypt is witnessing a 100 percent rise in bookings by Italian holidaymakers during the summer season, compared to the same period last year, according to Italian tour operators.
He said that the months of January and February of this year saw a 75 percent increase year-on-year in the number of Italian tourists visiting Egypt.
The Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, said in a report earlier in the same month that Italian tourism to Egypt doubled during the first months of 2018, with Italian tourists increasing by a whopping 94 percent.
The newspaper said that the number of Italian tourists who visited Egypt in January 2018 stood at 15,707, compared to 12,471 in January 2017, increasing by 25.9 percent. In February, the number increased by 76.2 percent year-on-year, standing at 19,241.