Italy's Meloni discusses energy with Egypt's Sisi, raises rights issues

ROME (Reuters) -Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni discussed energy, the climate crisis and immigration in talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a visit to Sharm El-Sheikh for the COP 27 summit, Meloni's office said on Monday.

Meloni, who took office last month, also raised the issue of human rights and the cases of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni and Patrick Zaki, who had been studying in Italy and is on trial in Egypt for allegedly spreading false information.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since Regeni's killing in Cairo in 2016. The arrest of rights researcher Zaki in February 2020 when on a trip home to Egypt from Italy further exacerbated bilateral ties.

"During the meeting, energy supply, renewable sources, climate change and immigration were discussed," Meloni's office said in a statement.

"The meeting was also an opportunity for Prime Minister Meloni to bring up the topic of respect for human rights and to underline Italy's strong interest in the cases of Giulio Regeni and Patrick Zaki," it added.

Four Egyptian security officials have been charged in Italy over the disappearance and murder of Regeni. However the men remain in Egypt and their trial was halted last year because of concerns they might not know about the case.

(Reporting by Angelo AmanteWriting by Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini)