Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy began a two-day visit to Moscow on Wednesday to finalize an arms deal and discuss other areas of cooperation.
Egypt will receive advanced weapons systems and the details of the deal will be announced at a press conference, according to a source quoted by the Al-Ahram Gate website.
The Egyptian and Russian governments agreed to the details in recent weeks, a senior official told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Friday. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will finance the $2 billion deal, according to the report.
Amr Moussa, head of the 50-member assembly that drafted the constitution and a former Arab League secretary- general and Egyptian foreign minister, told the Al-Ahram newspaper after a meeting with Sisi that it is clear that he has decided to run for president.
Also on Wednesday, suspected Islamists gunned down three police officers in Ismailia, on the west bank of the Suez Canal, Ahram Online reported.
A police officer was killed in the same area on Tuesday.
Security forces detained an Egyptian employee of the US Embassy who dealt with the political Islam file and was in constant contact with top Muslim Brotherhood official Khairat al-Shater when the group ruled the country, according to a security source quoted by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm al-Sabaa on Tuesday. He was arrested during protests and violence in Giza.
The embassy said the employee, Ahmed Alaiba, was detained on January 25 and still has not been charged.
Discussions with Moscow to buy advanced weapons systems date back to November, when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Cairo for talks.
Egypt’s moves to improve relations with Russia are seen as a way to counter the threat of US pressure. The US imposed a partial aid freeze, largely seen to be a punishment for last July’s military coup and the subesquent crackdown on former president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters.
Congress has moved to unfreeze aid to Egypt sometime this year, but it is unclear how this will play out.
Many Egyptians believe that the US has been supporting the Brotherhood at the current government’s expense.