Egypt considers retaliating for Italy's decision to cut military supplies

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt said on Wednesday it was considering retaliating against Italy for halting military supplies to protest the killing of an Italian student earlier this year.

Italy’s Senate voted last week to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes, the first commercial steps taken against Cairo since the death of Giulio Regeni.

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

Italy has repeatedly complained that Egyptian authorities have not cooperated to find those responsible for the 28-year-old student’s death. In April, it withdrew its ambassador to Egypt for consultations.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said the senate vote would hurt cooperation between the two countries.

“We regret the decision and are considering taking similar measures that affect areas of cooperation with Italy,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The statement did not specify the exact measures, but it said they would “affect bilateral, regional and international cooperation between Italy and Egypt”. That would include “a review of ongoing cooperation in combating illegal immigration in the Mediterranean and dealing with the situation in Libya.”

Italy was Egypt’s fourth-largest trade partner in terms of both imports and exports in 2015, according to Egypt’s official statistics agency, CAMPAS.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Larry King