Will Italy Ever Get Answers From Egypt Over the Killing of Giulio Regeni?

Will Italy Ever Get Answers From Egypt Over the Killing of Giulio Regeni?
Personal belongings of slain Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni, March 24, 2016 (Photo released by Egyptian Interior Ministry).

In late June, Italy’s Senate voted to suspend the export of spare F-16 parts to Egypt, in the sharpest rebuke yet to Cairo over its poor handling of an investigation into the killing of an Italian student in Egypt earlier this year. Nicola Latorre, a senator from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, called the move a way to pressure Egyptian authorities to help “the truth emerge more quickly” over the brutal murder of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old researcher from Cambridge University who disappeared in Cairo on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. Regeni’s body was found nine days later on the side of a highway on the outskirts of Cairo.

Latorre insisted that the suspension of military equipment wasn’t intended to severely affect ties between Italy and Egypt, but merely to send a message. The Egyptian air force has more than 200 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets in service, making Egypt’s fleet of F-16s the fourth-largest in the world.

As expected, Egyptian authorities responded heatedly to Italy’s decision—but also vaguely. Last week, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a retaliatory statement that it would consider “similar measures” against Italy, without actually saying what that meant beyond “a review of ongoing cooperation in combating illegal immigration in the Mediterranean and dealing with the situation in Libya.” The potential steps, the ministry declared, would “affect bilateral, regional and international cooperation between Italy and Egypt.”

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