Italy to return ambassador to Cairo after year of diplomatic tensions

Mohammed El-Said
3 Min Read

Italy is to return its ambassador to Cairo more than a year after the Italian government recalled its previous ambassador, in light of the murder of one of its nationals in Egypt, graduate student Giulio Regeni, according to a statement issued on Monday by the Italian minister of foreign affairs, Angelino Alfano.

Alfano added that “the Italian government is committed to reveal the circumstances of the tragic disappear of Regeni.” However, sources told the Italian agency ANSA that the Egyptian prosecution has sent transcripts of police personnel being interrogated about the case of the Italian student.

The appointment of the new ambassador Giampaolo Cantini marks a new step after a year of political tensions between the two countries after the discovery of Regeni’s body.

Regeni was a Cambridge scholar conducting a PhD research in Cairo on the labour unions in Egypt. He disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, according to his friends. On 3 February 2016, his body was found dumped on the side of a road outside Cairo, with signs of physical torture, such as cigarette burns and bruises.

Since then, the Egyptian government has been trying diplomatically to reconciliate  with its Italian counterpart, reasserting that there will be fair investigations of the case.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday that Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry received a phone call from his Italian counterpart, informing him about the decision of the Italian government to ask for the Egyptian acceptance for Italy to send its new ambassador to Egypt, Giampaolo Cantini.

Spokesperson of the ministry Ahmed Abou Zaid added that Shoukry praised the decision, asserting Egypt’s intention to send its new ambassador to Rome Hisham Badr.

Also on Monday, Egyptian Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek discussed in a phone call with the Rome’s chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, the updates of Regeni’s case. The call included talks about the investigations and checking the surveillance cameras, state-owned media reported.

On 12 July, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi asserted to a delegation from the Italian parliament led by the president of the Italian Senate’s defence commission, Nicola Latorre, and the vice president of the Italian Senate, Maurizio Gasparri, the importance of cooperation between investigative authorities in the two countries, stressing Egypt’s commitment to work on revealing the truth about the incident and punishing the criminals.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.
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