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MOSCOW, November 15 (Itar-Tass World Service) - Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday had “two-plus-two” talks with Egypt’s counterparts Nabil Fahmi and Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. “Cairo claims it wants to bring relations with Moscow to a level, similar to that in the times of the USSR, but Russia will not replace the US for Egypt,” Kommersant daily writes.
In October, the US announced they would reduce by about 25% its annual military assistance to Cairo, which used to be about $1.4 billion. Realistically, it would mean Egypt will not receive from Washington a certain amount of helicopters, fighter aircrafts and anti-ship missiles. Cairo does not see an alternative to the strategic relations with the US and hopes they may recover soon, however, it also hopes to use Moscow against the pressure from Washington, Kommersant writes referring to sources at Egypt’s delegation of politicians, which recently visited Russia.
As Saudi Arabia promised to reimburse Egypt’s financial losses, Cairo began considering purchases of new armory and repairs of the old Soviet weaponry, where the contract with Russia may make $4 billion.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta refers to its sources saying “the super beneficial supplies of armory to the Arab Republic of Egypt may be possible as Cairo signs with the Russian Federation an agreement allowing Russia’s Navy to use Egyptian ports. In exchange to the preferences, Egypt may receive from Russia latest medium-range missiles which can destroy targets in any Middle Eastern country and in Iran.”
“Egypt’s army has many Soviet and Russian weapons and equipment. The Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies says its share in the country’s air defense is as big as 60%. Certain kinds of weapons and equipment may be upgraded, and the local small and medium range air defense may use Russian Tor-M2, Buk-M5 and Pantsir-S complexes. This equally refers to MiG-29 and Su-30 fighters as well as to other equipment,” Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes.
The results of the talks between Sergei Shoigu and ad Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi were organization of joint military exercise in fighting terrorism and piracy and development of cooperation with Russia’s Air Force and Navy.
Egypt also promises to cooperate with Russia more actively for settlement of the Syrian crisis in the framework of Geneva-2 conference.
Sergei Lavrov promised to Egypt’s tourism sector the foreign ministry would revoke its recommendations to Russians not to visit Egypt.
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