Should Rome normalise relations with Cairo?
Since the murder of the Italian student Giulio Regeni in early 2016, apparently by Egyptian security forces, relations between the two countries have been tense. Now Italy plans to reinstate an ambassador in Cairo. Opinions are divided over whether this is a political necessity or a scandalous concession to Egypt.
More than just realpolitik
Avvenire defends Rome's decision:
“If we want to solve the Libyan crisis - to the extent that this is even possible today - we have to enter into a dialogue with Egypt. Because Cairo supports General Haftar [the adversary of the Libyan unity government], whose relationship with Italy is somewhat distorted. Dialogue with Haftar is the best way to control the anarchy in a country that supports the brutal and ruthless human trafficking with migrants. So is this mere realpolitik? Yes, if that meant giving up on the Regeni case. But if our public prosecutors are continuing their investigations as they are doing with (what seems to be) the increasing cooperation of local judicial authorities - then no.”
Italy couldn't care less about human rights
Clearly human rights are not a priority for Italy here, writes an outraged Riccardo Noury, speaker of Amnesty International Italy, on his blog on Il Fatto Quotidiano:
“In the name of transparency the Gentiloni government should publicly clarify that the Italian embassy in Cairo is resuming its activities to defend national interests (Libya, oil, terrorism, tourism etc.). And should therefore add that defending human rights is not a national interest, even when it comes to the rights of an Italian citizen who was brutally murdered (not to mention the countless Egyptians who suffer the same fate every year). … The government in Cairo is duly expressing its gratitude. A sentiment that is echoed by plenty of people here in Italy too.”