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Egypt: Italy and Europe urge dialogue – for the moment no reciprocal intention to negotiate, says Bonino

Italy continues to appeal, along with the rest of Europe, for dialogue in Egypt, for the “inclusive negotiations” that are the only route to resolving the dramatic crisis; but for the moment, “there have been no serious moves toward dialogue and inclusiveness on the part of the government in power”, nor “from the other side”, stated Minister Emma Bonino in a briefing on Egypt and the Middle East before the Upper and Lower House of Parliament’s joint commissions. “It does not seem to me that the Muslim Brotherhood has any real intention of embracing the notion of inclusiveness”, nor that this “intention” exists “on the other side”, the minister said, underscoring that “we can continue to press, but the decisions are up to others”. “We cannot impose dialogue, we can only strongly recommend it”, she concluded.

The complicated “Arab reawakening”

The minister asserted that she has “never much liked the expression ‘Arab Spring’, because the word spring gives the idea of a solely positive process. I have always preferred”, she added, “to call it a reawakening, i.e. a process consisting also of tragedy, errors and backsliding, which are no more lacking in the Arab world than in every other part of the globe”. “It is clear that the process has turned out to be much more complex that we were expecting it to be. I do not agree, however, that we have now gone into a Siberian winter”, Bonino asserted, specifying that she did not at all believe “that the Arab world is unsuited to democracy”. The minister then urged a more detailed and less “stereotyped” analysis of the concept that “the Shia are bad and the Sunni are our friends”.

Tension and instability along the southern Mediterranean

“We have warned Italian tourists planning to vacation in Egypt not to go on excursions”, the minister told the joint commissions, reminding “all Italians who travel to register with the ‘viaggiare sicuri’ website [of the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Unit]”.

The situation “along the entire southern Mediterranean is one of tension and instability”, the minister added, “and that does not just mean Egypt”.

Security deteriorating in Libya

Speaking on the situation in Libya, Bonino pointed out that “the events of recent days show deterioration in security” in that country, and “a rather alarming wave of migration being organised by criminals”.

Support for Mideast peace process

“Resumption of the Middle East peace talks give us hope for the process”, the minister said during her parliamentary briefing.

Monitoring the cases of Quirico and Dall’Oglio”

“We continue to follow all possible leads in the case of Quirico. The only “positive” thing is that we have not had bad news; neither have we had confirmation of the abduction of Dall’Oglio”, said the minister.