FCO to push for Cambridge cooperation on Regeni case

Jill Morris was appointed as Britain's ambassador to Italy in July

ROME — Britain’s newly-appointed ambassador to Italy, Jill Morris, has told the Italian government that the Foreign Office will seek to persuade Cambridge University to work with Italy to help find out the truth about the vicious murder of Giulio Regeni, a student at the hallowed academic institution.

 The 28-year-old researcher went missing in Cairo during February under mysterious circumstancesand and was found brutally killed after being tortured, but the university’s assistance in the matter was deemed to be “categorically unsatisfactory” by Italian investigators.

 “The British government supports Italy’s position and encourages both Cambridge University and Egypt to work together,” the ambassador told the Corriere Della Sera. 

 When asked about the university’s reticence in dealing with the case, Morris continued: “I can confirm the Foreign Office will hold talks with Cambridge this week to clarify our stance.”

 She then agreed that the department would be likely to take the same line as her in persuading the university.

 Talking about her role in the aftermath of Brexit, Morris stated that “my experience in Europe [as European Director for the Foreign Office] will be invaluable in the current climate.”

 “The situation presents a real battle, but my aims are clear: I am here not just to maintain our relationship with Italy, but also to strengthen and expand it.”

 “As my government has already said: we want to remain a part of Europe.”

 Despite Theresa May’s firm view that “Brexit means Brexit,” and that the decision could not be revoked, Morris was still confident about Britain’s presence in Europe.

 “Of course, the people have come to a decision, and the government must do their best to respect that. But for me, it is the nature of our collaboration that will change more than anything, while our aims and our interests will remain the same: in particular, the topics of immigration and terrorism come to mind.”

 “A distinction must be drawn between what is to change, and what is to remain as it was.”

 Morris was also positive on the fate of Italians working and studying in the UK: “It is our intention to protect the rights of Italian citizens living in Great Britain. At the same time, we are expecting our treatment to be reciprocated, and that the rights of British citizens across Europe will be respected.”

 When asked about what form Britain’s future relationship with the EU would take, the ambassador stated that Britain “is not looking to follow a prefabricated model.” 

 “We are looking for an original, British solution which aims at improving the economy of both Great Britain and Europe. As far as the British embassy in Italy is concerned, we will continue working hard to support Italian investments in the UK.”

 “We remain open to business and investment. As I have already said, we are, and will remain, a European country at heart."