CAIRO, December 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived on a working visit to Cairo.
Earlier on Monday, he visited the Russian airbase in Syria’s Hmeymim where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and issued an instruction of the Russian defense ministry to begin withdrawal of the Russian taskforce from that country.
At Cairo’s airport, the Russian leader was welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Later in the day, the two president will hold talks to discuss issues of the development of Russian-Egyptian relations in the political, trade-and-economic, energy and humanitarian spheres.
"The sides will also exchange views on key aspects of international agenda, first of all on issues on stability and security in the Middle East and North Africa," the Kremlin press service said.
Putin’s previous visit to Egypt took place in February 2015.
A key issue on the Russian-Egyptian agenda is resumption direct air service between the two countries that was suspended after a terror attack on a Russian passenger plane over Sinai in October 2015. The attack killed 224 people.
Moscow insists that Egypt modernize security systems at its airports and sign an air security agreement as a key conditions for resumption of air service. Last week, Egypt’s Ambassador to Russia Ihab Nasr said that his country saw it as its key task to resume air service and restore tourist flows from Russia. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said last Friday he did not know whether this topic would be raised at Putin’s visit to Egypt.
Another topical issue on the Russia-Egyptian economic cooperation agenda is signing of a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant at El Dabaa in the north of Egypt. The Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental agreement on the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant of four power units of 1,200 megawatt each was signed in November 2015 in Cairo. Apart from that, the sides inked an agreement on extending a government export loan of 25 billion U.S. dollars to Egypt that is to cover about 85% of construction costs. The Egyptian side is to raise the rest of the sum from private investors. The project is to be implemented within 12 years.
The sides have to yet signed a relevant contract. In late November, the Egyptian parliament passed a law to create a legal framework for the implementation of the El Dabaa NPP project with Russia’s Rosatom participation.
From Cairo, the Russian president will go on a working visit to Turkey.