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Italian ambassador returns to Egypt, ending long diplomatic row

Europe
13.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Cairo (dpa) - A new Italian ambassador arrived in Egypt on Wednesday, ending a 17-month diplomatic dispute between the two countries over the brutal murder of an Italian student in Cairo.

The new envoy, Giampaolo Cantini, had arrived at Cairo airport, sources at the airport said, adding that he was welcomed by an official from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

Cairo-Rome relations deteriorated after Giulio Regeni, an Italian PhD student, was found dead on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital in February 2016, with apparent signs of torture.

Two months later, Italy recalled its ambassador from Egypt in protest at what it called a "lack of cooperation" from Cairo on the case.

Rome‘s decision to send a new envoy was taken last month after Italian and Egyptian prosecutors said in a joint statement that there had been a "step forward" in the case. Egyptian authorities passed on key documents to Italian counterparts.

Regeni was in Cairo to study the trade union movement, a politically sensitive topic in Egypt.

He disappeared on January 25, a day on which Egypt‘s security services were on high alert for possible anti-government demonstrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ousted longtime dictator Hosny Mubarak.

Egyptian authorities initially blamed the death of the 28-year-old on a road accident.

Several other explanations for the murder were later offered by Egyptian officials including a claim that Regeni was the victim of a gang of robbers - but none was judged credible by Italian authorities.

Before the researcher‘s death, Italy and Egypt had enjoyed close relations.

 

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