Senior Russian ministers to visit Egypt this week

Cairo says Russia visit has nothing to do with current rift with the US: “We aren’t replacing one ally with another.”

November 10, 2013 02:12
1 minute read.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Lavrov 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to visit Cairo on Wednesday and Thursday.

The talks will deal with promoting political, economic, and security ties as well as discussing the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Atty said on Saturday.

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This visit follows a recent visit by Russia’s intelligence chief setting the way for improved relations.

Egypt’s moves to improve relations with Russia are seen as a way to counter the threat of US pressure. The US aid freeze was largely seen to be a punishment for the military coup and crackdown on former president Mohamed Morsi and his supporters, while Egypt’s politics were dictated by the military backed interim regime.

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Egypt a week ago and both countries attempted to maintain a positive atmosphere despite underlying tensions. Kerry said that the country was on its way towards democracy and that the recent freeze in aid was not a punishment.

Abdel Atty said on Saturday that relations remain “strong” with the US and that the Russian visit has nothing to do with problems with the US. “We aren’t replacing one ally with another,” said Atty, according to Daily News Egypt.

Meanwhile, a report on Friday from Russia’s RIA Novosti said Moscow would supply advanced weaponry to Egypt if Cairo can finance it. “We are ready to negotiate with the Egyptian side the possibility of deliveries of new weaponry as well as repairing equipment supplied in Soviet times,” an official from Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport told RIA Novosti.

“The upcoming visit will help us to outline the prospects of our [defense] cooperation,” the Rosoboronexport source said.

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