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MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt plan to sign a protocol on military cooperation that will set the guidelines for a long-term perspective, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday.
Opening talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Shoigu said today’s talks would focus on "what has been done over the past year in terms of expanding bilateral ties in the military sphere."
"A major result of joint work will be the signing of a protocol between the Russian government and the government of Egypt on military cooperation. This document will set the guidelines for our relations in this sphere for years," the Russian minister said.
Shoigu said it was time to begin to fill the agreement with "concrete content," with a special focus on joint anti-terrorism efforts. "Naturally, in focus will be issues of training Egyptian servicemen at Russian higher education establishments of the Russian defense ministry and a number of other matters of mutual interest," he said.
The Russian minister stressed that Egypt was Russia’s leading partner in the Middle East. Moscow "is determined to continue efficient cooperation" with Cairo in various spheres, he said. "We rely on principles that have traditionally been laying in the basis of relations between the peoples of our countries — mutual respect and non-interference into domestic affairs, observing sovereignty and due account of each other’s interests," Shoigu said, adding that this course had been confirmed at the talks between the two countries’ leaders in Cairo in February.
Military cooperation between Russia and Egypt is to get a fresh impetus based on the rich joint history of the two countries, Egyptian Defense Minister Sidgy Sobhy said on Tuesday at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
"We must pool efforts to rebuff regional and international threats, first of all, terrorism," he said.
The Egyptian defense minister asked his Russian counterpart for his invitation to visit Russia and for a "possibility to discuss issues of strengthening our military cooperation."
"It is important, bearing in mind the history of relations between our countries and the recent meeting between our leaders," Sobhy said, "It is necessary to develop everything we have been doing together. It is important for our countries."
The Egyptian defense minister thanked Russia for its support to Egypt in its anti-terrorism efforts.