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High-Level Egyptian PM to formulate response to Italy halting military spare parts
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 14 - 07 - 2016

Kamal Amer, head of the Egyptian parliament's Defence and National Security Committee, told reporters that representatives from various state bodies will attend a high-level parliamentary meeting on Monday "upon the orders of speaker Ali Abdel-Al and in response to Italy's decision not to supply Egypt with some spare parts for F-16 fighter planes."
The meeting will be attended by intelligence officials, the ministries of interior and foreign affairs and the prosecution-‎general.
Italy's decision, adopted by the Italian parliament on ‎7 July, came in response to what it says is Egypt's failure to cooperate in the investigation into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo last January.‎
Amer said the representatives of the above-mentioned authorities will participate in a joint meeting with parliament's three committees of defence and national security, foreign affairs and human rights.‎
Amer told reporters that MPs affiliated with the three committees held a preliminary meeting Sunday to prepare for Monday's meeting and issue a report to be submitted to parliament speaker Abdel-Al.‎
Amer said "Italy as a sovereign state has the right to adopt the decision that suits its interests and we on our side will try our best to convince it to scrap this decision."
However, Amer, who is a former chief military intelligence and is close to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, warned that "Egypt's efforts not to adopt a confrontational agenda against Italy does not mean that it does not have other options."
Amer told reporters that "We, Egypt's MPs and government, are very keen on seeing Egyptian-Italian relations remain strong. Italy was, after all, the first European country to support Egypt's 30 June Revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was the first to visit Egypt after the revolution," said Amer.‎
Amer added that in appreciation of Italy's post-30 June stand, President El-Sisi spoke on the phone with Italian PM Renzi several times to assure him that Egypt will provide Italy with all the necessary information about Regeni's death.
‎"Several Italian delegations visited Egypt, the last of which was on 7 May and after they returned to Italy they stressed that they got all the information they needed from Egyptian prosecution authorities," Amer said.‎
He disclosed that a high-profile Egyptian internal law professor attended the three committees' preliminary meeting yesterday.
"We wanted to seek his advice on how to contain the crisis with Italy," said Amer, concluding that "for the moment we will refrain from any rough diplomacy with Italy."
‎‎"Among the proposals put forward to contain this crisis is that an Egyptian parliamentary delegation visit Italy's parliament," said Amer, adding that "all Italy needs to know is who killed Regeni, and this is also what Egypt wants to know."‎
Meanwhile, MPs showed mixed reactions to the Italian parliament's decision to halt some military spare parts to Egypt. Many MPs, like Free Egyptians Party MP Tarek Radwan, accused Rome of using the "criminal" Regeni case "as a tool of political exhortation."
"Italian parliament's hasty and arrogant decision comes while Italy has never given Egypt any information on the killing of several Egyptians in Italy," said Radwan.‎
Radwan and many other MPs believe that it is easy for Egypt to get the F-16 spare parts from several other sources.
"Italy will be wrong if it thinks that this measure can hit Egypt very hard," said Radwan.‎
An MP who asked not to be identified said "it is no secret that in combating terrorists in Sinai and elsewhere, Egypt is currently depending on different fighter aircraft like the French Rafale and the Russian MIG, and not just the American F-16.
"This is the result of what President El-Sisi, Egypt's former military chief, diversifying Egypt's military imports," said the MP, also indicating that "the US itself, rather than Italy, is Egypt's major supplier of F-16 spare parts."‎
Another Free Egyptians Party MP, Nadia Henry, begs to differ with her colleague MPs. Henry accuses the Egyptian government of "not dealing seriously enough with the Regeni case."‎
"Despite its claims to the contrary, the Egyptian government has not been serious about cooperating with Italian judicial authorities in investigating the Regeni case. They thought that the Regeni case will come to an end without any repercussion and this allowed radical MPs in the Italian parliament to exert pressure on the Renzi government and issue their arrogant decision," claimed Henry.‎
source: Ahram Online

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