Egypt foreign minister criticises Italy’s take on murdered student


Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry criticised on Wednesday recent remarks by his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni over the murder of an Italian PhD student earlier this year as failing to recognise the common interests of both countries.

"I have followed statements by the Italian foreign minister on more than one website and occasion in the recent period," Shoukry told state news agency MENA, in what the agency described as his first "direct comment" on his counterpart's statements.

"It worries me that they [the statements] carry a tone that does not reflect awareness of the common interests between the two countries or the amount of cooperation shown by the Egyptian side on the incident from the beginning, as much as it is an expression of the interests of one side," Shoukry was quoted as saying.

He added that Cairo, however, "will continue to inform the Italian side of the developments with complete transparency and credibility."

The body of the 28-year-old PhD student, who was in Cairo conducting research on independent trade unions, was found with signs of torture by a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo on 3 February. He went missing on 25 January.

Both Egypt's interior and foreign ministry officials vigorously dismissed allegations that security forces were involved Regeni's murder.

Italian foreign minister Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni warned last month that Italy is prepared to take "immediate and proportional measures" against Egypt if it fails to provide the truth about the torture and death of Regeni.

Italy has rejected various versions about how Regeni might have died, including that a gang specialised in robbing and kidnapping foreigners might have been involved in the death. Egyptian police said they have killed all its members and that they found the student's belongings in their possession.

Gentiloni said that meetings early in April between Egyptian and Italian investigators in Rome on Regeni's murder mystery "didn't yield the fruits we expected," signalling "dissatisfaction with Cairo's cooperation on the matter.

Days later, on 8 April, he recalled the Italian ambassador to Egypt for consultations because, his ministry said, Egyptian investigators in Rome had failed to hand over all needed information to solve the case.

And more recently, he said Rome will continue to "demand the truth" from Egypt about the torture and murder of Regeni.

A judicial source told Ahram Online on Wednesday that an Italian security delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo next week to hold talks with Egyptian officials on the ongoing probe into the killing, which has strained ties between the otherwise two close allies.



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