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Italian defence minister pledges support to Egypt's fight against terrorism

Ahram Online , Friday 24 Jul 2015
Italy visit
Italian defence minister Roberta Pinotti shakes hands with Egyptian PM Ibrahem Mahlab during talks in Rome, Italy, Friday 24 July, 2015 (Photo: Pinotti's official twitter account)
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The Italian defence minister told  visiting Egyptian premier Ibrahim Mahlab on Friday that her country would support Cairo in its battle with terrorism.

"We have ties with the Egyptian armed forces, and we are ready to offer our expertise in the area of fighting terrorists," defence minister Roberta Pinotti was quoted as saying by Egypt's official news agency MENA.

"Egypt is our partner and ally."

Pinotti also told Mahlab, who is currently on a three-day visit to Italy, that Rome values Cairo's efforts to combat terrorism and other cultural attempts to prove that Islam is "not a religion of extremism and terrorism."

The Italian minister said a deadly bombing that hit the Italian consulate in central Cairo earlier this month did not only aim to target Italy but "friendly ties between the Egyptian and Italian people."

The attack on 11 July, which killed an Egyptian civilian, was the first deadly bombing of a foreign mission in Egypt since Islamist insurgents began a campaign against the country's security forces two years ago.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said at the time that his country and Egypt will stand together "in the fight against terrorism and fanaticism."

During the talks, Mahlab reiterated calls for international concerted efforts to combat terrorist groups, namely the hardline Islamic State group which has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

The Egyptian premier, who was to meet President Sergio Mattarella and Renzi, signed a number of economic accords during his trip.

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