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Mistake to withdraw envoy to Egypt over Regeni case says Di Stefano

05 settembre 2019 | 19.32
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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It would be an error for Italy to withdraw its ambassador to Egypt over the lack of progress in solving researcher Giulio Regeni's brutal 2016 murder, foreign undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano, said on Thursday.

"I believe that withdrawing the ambassador would be a mistaken move, Di Stefano told Italy's Radio24.

"We should remain in Egypt and keep demanding the truth. If you break off relations, you do a favour to your enemies and to Egypt, which could lose interest in the case if you break off dialogue," he said.

Di Stefano's comments came after Regeni's parents on Wednesday urged Italy's new foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, to follow up on comments he made as an opposition MP in 2016 and to immediately withdraw Italy's ambassador to Egypt.

In February 2016, after 28-year-old Regeni's tortured, semi-naked body was found along a highway outside Cairo, Di Maio said the government must threaten and if needs be impose economic sanctions on Egypt if it failed to cooperate with Italy and solve the murder.

No one has yet been brought to trial for the brutal slaying of Regeni, a Cambridge University doctoral student who vanished in Cairo nine days before his mutilated corpse was discovered. At the time of his disappearance, Regeni was looking into the politically sensitive topic of independent trade unions in Egypt.

Italian prosecutors investigating the case last November named five Egyptian National Security Agency members as suspects in Regeni’s disappearance. The Egyptian government denies its security forces abducted and killed Regeni, as many in Italy and western diplomatic circles suspect.

The Regeni case has strained Italy's ties with Egypt and led to the withdrawal of its envoy to the country for several months in 2016.

After Regeni's body was discovered, Egyptian authorities offered various explanations, including that Regeni had been hit by a vehicle. Later, they claimed he was a victim of a robbery.

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