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Italy's FM: We fully support Egypt in its fight against terrorism

The Italian FM also told reporters who asked about Cairo's policies on issues of democracy at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart that Rome does not interfere in Egyptian internal matters

Ahram Online , Monday 13 Jul 2015
Gentiloni
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni (L) listens during a news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry at the foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, July 13, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)
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Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni stated during his visit to Egypt on Monday that Italy fully supports Egypt in its fight against terrorism,

Gentiloni's visit to Cairo comes less than 48 hours after the bombing of the Italian Consulate in Cairo on Saturday.

In a press conference in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, Gentiloni stressed the importance of Egypt as a "cornerstone" of stability in the region and praised Egypt's efforts in fighting terrorism in the country and the region.

"We will not be the judges on the internal politics of any country but we are sure that Egypt is committed to peace in the region and to fighting terrorism," Gentiloni said, answering a question regarding accusations that the Egyptian administration is suppressing political opposition forces.

Gentiloni said that terrorism should not only be fought militarily, but also religiously and culturally in order to "dry up [its] sources."

The Italian FM added that there should be cultural cooperation between Italy and Egypt.

Egypt's FM Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt is fully responsible for protecting and securing foreign diplomatic missions in its country.

A car bomb that targeted the Italian Consulate early Saturday morning destroyed parts of the building, leaving one Egyptian civilian dead and ten others injured.

Shoukry urged the international community to join and support Egypt's fight against terrorism while slamming attempts to present radical groups abroad as moderate Islamists.

"We do not understand how, for instance, a newspaper like The Washington Post provides a group linked to Al-Qaeda with the space to explain its views," Shoukry said in what is believed to be a reference to an op-ed written by a member of the Islamist militant group Ahrar Al-Sham that was published in The Washington Post on Friday.

"All of those groups have the same ideology and work under the same umbrella," said the Egyptian Foreign Minister.

When asked by an Italian journalist about the presence of the Islamic State in Egypt, and in Cairo specifically, Shoukry stated that investigations have not yet determined who was behind the Consulate attack.

In a brief statement published on its Twitter account on Saturday morning shortly after the blast, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosion that targeted the Italian Consulate.  

Earlier Monday, Gentiloni had met with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to discuss mutual cooperation.

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