Egypt Threatens Retaliation Over Italy’s Decision to Halt Aviation Supplies

Egypt said on Wednesday it was considering taking similar measures against Italy, which halted aviation supplies to Egypt in protest over the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year.

The Italian Senate voted on June 29 to halt supplies of spare part for F16 warplanes to Egypt over Egypt’s handling of Regeni’s case investigation.

The 28-year-old Italian researcher, Regeni, went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Ten days later, his body was found, bearing signs of torture, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo.

The reasons behind Regeni’s death are still unknown, and Italy has complained on several occasions about the pace of the investigation into the case, before deciding to halt warplane supplies to Egypt, which marked the first commercial measure taken by the European country against Cairo.

Egypt expressed its “unease” at the decision in a statement that was issued last weak, before releasing another detailed statement on Wednesday.

The second statement described the Italian move as “inconsistent with the level of cooperation that has existed between investigative authorities in both countries since the beginning of the incident, and that it contradicts their common goal to combat terrorism for its negative effect on Egypt’s capabilities in the field.”

“We regret the decision and are considering taking similar measures that affect areas of cooperation with Italy,” Egypt’s foreign ministry statement read.

The statement said Egypt would take measures that would “affect bilateral, regional and international cooperation between Italy and Egypt.”

No specific measures were mentioned in the statement but Egypt referred to the possibility of “reviewing of ongoing cooperation in combatting illegal immigration in the Mediterranean and dealing with the situation in Libya.”

Egypt said it provided Italy with results of investigation and cooperated with “full transparency” on Regeni’s case, at a time when Italy failed to provide explanation on the reasons behind the death of an Egyptian national and the disappearance of another in Italy.

The body of Mohamed Baher Sobhy was found on April 30 dumped on a railway track in Napoli with bruises on his head and jaw, while Adel Moawad went missing in Italy last year. The reasons behind their fates remain to be unknown.

Egypt expressed its “keenness” to maintain its special relation with Italy and hoped that the Italian position would reflect “equal consideration and concern.”

Source: Aswat Masriya