UPDATE – Egypt’s political digest Nov. 1: Italian prosecutor holds talks in Egypt over probe into student’s killing
Giulio Regeni - Twitter

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Italian prosecutor holds talks in Egypt over probe into student’s killing


(REUTERS): Italian and Egyptian prosecutors discussed Egypt’s investigation into the killing of an Italian student on Tuesday and called the talks “positive”, after months of rising tension as Rome complained about a lack of cooperation from Cairo.

Giulio Regeni, who was doing postgraduate research into Egyptian trade unions, was last seen by his friends on Jan. 25. His body, showing signs of torture, was found in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo on Feb. 3.

Amid accusations from rights groups that Egyptian security services appeared responsible for the 28-year-old Regeni’s death, Italy complained that Egyptian authorities were not cooperating to find the perpetrators. In April, Rome withdrew its ambassador to Cairo for consultations.

Italian deputy chief prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco met Egyptian Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek in Cairo on Tuesday and invited him to visit Rome in December for further talks and to meet Regeni’s parents, a statement by the two sides said.

“During the meeting amid a positive atmosphere, the two parties discussed the latest developments in the investigation and renewed their commitment to direct cooperation in uncovering the mystery of the incident and achieving justice for the victim,” the statement said.

In protest at the perceived sluggishness of the investigation, the Italian Senate voted in June to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes.

Italy was Egypt’s fourth largest trade partner in terms of imports and exports in 2015, according to Egypt’s statistics agency CAPMAS. The Senate vote was Italy’s first commercial step against Cairo over the Regeni case.

Human rights groups have said that torture marks, including cigarette burns, cuts and contusions, indicated Regeni died at the hands of the security forces, an allegation Cairo denies.

But security and intelligence sources told Reuters in April that Regeni had been arrested outside a Cairo metro station on Jan. 25 and was taken to a Homeland Security compound.

Regeni’s case is an “open wound” for Italy, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said last week.

Sadek told his Italian counterpart in September that the head of Egypt’s independent union of street vendors reported Regeni to police a few weeks before he disappeared.

Police then carried out checks on Regeni’s activity for three days but found nothing of interest and stopped the checks, he said.

Regeni had been researching independent labor unions in Egypt for his doctorate studies at Cambridge University, and had been in contact with the leaders of the street vendors’ union.

Italy has significant economic interests in Egypt, including the giant offshore Zohr gas field, which is being developed by the Italian state energy producer Eni.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has also sought to be Egypt’s main political partner in Europe, offering to be “a bridge” to the region for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.



MPs demand pardon to housing project detainees

Members of Parliament (MPs) from Port Said governorate have requested pardoning 28 youth who were arrested during a protest demanding their right in a housing project.


The MPs demanded enrolling the names of the arrested demonstrators on a to-be-pardoned prisoners list announced by the President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi last week.



Saudi secretary-general of Organization of Islamic Cooperation resigns

(Reuters)- The Saudi secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) resigned on Monday for health reasons, according to a statement from the organization.

Iyad Madani, 70, had held the post since 2012. A statement by the IOC said Saudi Arabia had nominated Yusuf al-Othaimeen, a former minister of social affairs, as his replacement.

The resignation comes two days after Egypt’s foreign minister condemned remarks by Madani that appeared to mock Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In a statement late on Monday, Egypt’s foreign ministry welcomed Saudi’s nomination of Othaimeen. It said it would back him in “recognition of the important role played by Saudi Arabia in support of the activities and objectives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation”.

Madani had told Tunisia’s president last week “I am sure your fridge has more than water”, an apparent jibe at Sisi, who told a youth conference in October that for a decade his fridge contained nothing but water, seen as a message to Egyptians to bear harsh economic conditions.

Egypt said after the incident that it would be “reviewing its position toward the secretariat of the organization”.

Madani said his remarks “were only based on a sense of humor and were by no means intended to be offensive to the Egyptian leadership”, according to the English-language Saudi daily Arab News.

The OIC has 57 member states and aims “to safeguard the interests of the Muslim world” and preserve Islamic social and economic values, according to its website.

In 2012 the IOC suspended Syria’s membership on the grounds of President Bashar al-Assad’s suppression of the Syrian revolt.


Czech did not issue travel alert for Egypt: ambassador

Czech ambassador to Egypt Veronika Ruchynova Smigolova denied media reports claiming that her country has issued a travel alert to its citizens for Egypt, the Egyptian state-owned news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

A total of 11,000 Czech’s tourists have visited the Red Sea in September, She added in a ceremony celebrates  the National Day of the Czech Republic, noting that Czech will host an exhibition about the Egyptian history in 2019.


Sisi meets with Arab Organization for Tourism head

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet with head of the Arab Organization for Tourism Dr. Bandar Bin Fahd Al Fuhaid on Tuesday, Youm7 reported.

The meeting will be attended by Egyptian Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashad at Cairo-based Presidential Palace of Ittihadyia.

Al Fuhaid participated in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council’s 104th session that kicked off in Upper Egypt’s Luxor on Monday.


Egypt’s FM meets with Germany’s National Security Advisor

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will meet with Germany’s National Security Advisor Christoph Heusgen in Cairo on Tuesday, discussing the bilateral of the mutual concern, Youm7 reported on Monday evening.

On Nov. 10, Shoukry will also meet with Tunisian Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohamed Ennaceur to talk the bilateral relations and international and regional issues, Tunisian Press agency reported on Monday.


13 Egyptian fishermen deported back home from Tunisia

A total of 13 Egyptian fishermen have been deported back home from Tunisia after being detained over entering illegally the Tunisian territorial water, MENA reported Egyptian ambassador to Tunis Nabeel Habashi on Tuesday.

However, three other fishermen, who were on board of the Egyptian boat, are still being detained pending investigations.

The ambassador met on Monday with the Speaker of the Tunisian House of Representatives Mohamed Ennaceur, discussing the ways of enhancing the economic relations, stated Tunisian press agency.


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