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August 10, 2022

Russians’ visit promises closer Egypt links

Sergey Lavrov thanked for support in the Syrian problem.

Russia’s defence and foreign ministers continued a highly anticipated two-day visit to Cairo on Thursday, with officials from both countries promising deeper ties but offering few specifics and making no mention of a much-rumoured multibillion-dollar arms deal. Sergey Lavrov and Nabil Fahmy, respectively the Russian and Egyptian foreign ministers, said at a press conference on Thursday morning that their meetings covered a range of issues, everything from foreign policy to tourism. The two were to hold a joint meeting later on Thursday with the defence ministers, Sergei Shoigu and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as well as Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour. Lavrov has been a regular visitor to Cairo, but Shoigu is the first Russian defence minister to travel here since 1971, shortly before then-President Anwar Sadat broke with the Soviet Union and moved Egypt fully into America’s orbit. “Egypt is not just a regional power, but a country with which Russia has long historical ties,” Lavrov said. “We have been friends with the Egyptian people for decades.” Many in Egypt believe Russia would be a more reliable ally than the US, which has become increasingly unpopular because of its perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its mild criticism of the military’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi in July. Posters of Russian President Vladimir Putin have become a common sight around the country, with the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper even publishing photographs on Thursday of a “Thanks, Putin” poster hung by residents of Luxor. Much of the commentary this week was focused on talk of an arms deal, which would send a message that Egypt has alternatives to its decades-old military relationship with Washington. One article, in the staunchly nationalist El-Watan, called Russia a “great military power” equal to the US, even suggesting that Russian-made weapons could be “more environmentally-friendly”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the work on eliminating chemical weapons in Syria continued. Itar-Tass reports that after the talks with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy on Thursday, Lavrov said: “We discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Our approaches towards convening the Geneva II Peace Conference coincide.” “We’re grateful to Egypt for support in the Syrian problem,” the Russian minister added.
Lavrov also stated that Russia continues taking part in the U.N. peacemaking activity.
Earlier in Thursday, in a greetings message to participants in an international conference devoted to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) peacemaking activities, Lavrov said: “Russia rivets much attention to peacemaking activities as an important instrument to ease confrontation in international relations and settle crises, which continue posing a threat to global peace and security.”
Russia “will contribute to performing the U.N. preventive anti-crisis potential. Russian will send peacekeepers to take part in operations in different regions of the world, provide services for peacemaking activities and train a peacekeeping contingent”, the minister said.

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