Italian Senator Lucio Barani of the Liberal Popular Alliance Bloc said on Sunday evening that the Egyptian government is not responsible for the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni, saying that his visit to Egypt aims to strengthen Egyptian-Italian economic relations.
In a Cairo press conference organised by the European-Egyptian Business Council and headed by renowned Egyptian businessman Mohammed Abul-Enein, Barani criticised Italy’s handling of the matter, adding that Egypt's government is doing its best to investigate the murder case, MENA news agency reported.
A number of Italian members of parliament and their Egyptian counterparts participated in the conference.
Regeni, a 28-year old Cambridge PhD student, vanished from the streets of Cairo on 25 January before his body was discovered in a ditch on the outskirts of the city nine days later, showing signs of extensive torture.
Some have speculated that Egyptian authorities were behind the killing of the student, who was conducting research on trade unions in the country.
Barani also said that he would call on the Italian foreign ministry to revoke its travel warning to Egypt, stressing that Egypt is safe.
Barani said that the Italian delegation at the conference included Italian businessmen alongside the MPs, adding that there will be a meeting next September between Italian and Egyptian MPs to foster bilateral relations.
The Italian MP also said that he would hold a press conference on Wednesday in Rome announcing the results of his visit.
In April, Barani along with the Italian Senator Francesco Amoroso, the former president of the Euro-Mediterranean parliament, reiterated similar statements to Abul-Enein during an interview this week on Sada El-Balad TV.
The MPs ruled out the possibility of the Egyptian government's involvement in Regeni's murder, describing it as a "plot" to spoil the relationship between Egypt and Italy.
Abul-Enein, who is also honorary president of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliament, said on his official website in April that a number of Italian MPs assured him of the importance of Egyptian-Italian relations in spite of those who try "to trigger a crisis by exploiting the Italian young man’s killing."
The Italian senate voted in June to suspend the supply of spare parts for F16 warplanes to Egypt in protest to what it says is Egypt's failure to cooperate in the investigation into the murder of Regeni.
Egypt said the Italian move was “not consistent with the level of cooperation that has existed between investigative authorities in both countries since the beginning of the case."
In early April, the Italian government recalled its ambassador for consultation following a series of meetings in Rome between a high-level Egyptian security and legal delegation and Italian officials to discuss Cairo's investigation into the murder.
In May, Italy appointed Giampaolo Cantini as its new ambassador to Cairo, but said its decision to recall its ambassador, made in April, has not changed.
Egypt has vigorously denied any claims that security forces were involved in Regeni's murder.