November 12, 2018 / 1:43 PM / a month ago

Egypt's Sisi to visit Italy for Libya conference

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

CAIRO/PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will attend a Libya conference in Palermo, state news agency MENA said, his fist visit to Italy since the disappearance of Italian postgraduate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in 2016.

Sisi departed Cairo, MENA said, to join a two-day conference in Sicily hosted by Italy to find ways to stabilize Libya in turmoil since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Regeni disappeared in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016 the anniversary of the start of 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. His body was discovered on Feb. 3 and Egyptian investigators found signs of extensive torture.

Intelligence and security sources told Reuters in 2016 that police had arrested Regeni outside a Cairo metro station on Jan. 25 of that year and then transferred him to a compound run by Homeland Security.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in Regeni’s death.

The case had strained ties between Egypt and Italy, which recalled its ambassador over the case. Relations were restored in August last year when Rome said it would return its envoy to Cairo and continue to search for Regeni’s killers.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty, Ulf Laessing and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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