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MOSCOW, February 13, 4:48 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian-Egyptian talks in the Two Plus Two format involving Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and of Defence Sergei Shoigu and their Egyptian counterparts, Nabil Fahmy and Abdelfattah Elsisi, respectively, will be held in Moscow on Thursday.
It will be the second meeting in this format. The first one was held in Cairo on November 14, 2013. According to the participants, this format will make it possible to bring the relations between the two countries to a new level.
At the Cairo meetin, the sides outlined top priority tasks of mutually beneficial cooperation in the trade and economic, military and military technical spheres and reiterated their commitment to “strengthen partner cooperation between the two countries in solving the pressing international and regional problems, to further develop and expand comprehensive Russian-Egyptian cooperation.” The sides also exchanged views on a wide range of issues with a “special emphasis on the situation in the states of the Middle East and Northern Africa.”
These issues will obviously be in focus at the Moscow talks as well. The situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa, first of all, in Syria, is still very difficult, hence the topic for discussion will evidently include ways of settling the Syrian crisis and maintaining regional stability, especially in the light of Egypt’s aspiration to play a leading role in the Middle East and its influence on the neighbouring countries.
At the same time, Egypt’s political life is far from being tranquil too. Clashes between supported of the former President Mohamed Morsi with the police occur here quite regularly. The country will have presidential and parliamentary elections on the basis of its new constitution in April. These will be the second elections in less than two years.
On February 11, three years after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, former secretary general of the League of Arab States Amr Moussa reiterated Elsisi’s plans to take part in the presidential polls. Elsisi however has said nothing about his election plans as of yet.
So, it looks important that today’s visit will be his first foreign trip after Morsi was ousted from power on June 30, 2013. The Moscow meeting will make it possible for the sides to exchange views on the current situation in Egypt and prospects for its further development.
Russia is Egypt’s traditional partner in the military technical sphere, so it is quite predictable that the sides would exert further effort to strengthen this cooperation. Back in the autumn, the Egyptian mass media spoke about a possible deal between Moscow and Cairo on arms supplies to Egypt. Thus, according to the local media, the sides might sign a contract on supplies of state-of-the-art missile defence systems, combat helicopters and fighters of the new generation, and anti-tank systems to a total sum of two billion U.S. dollars.
The talks are expected to embrace the entire range of issues of bilateral relations and prospects for strengthening military, political and economic cooperation between the two countries, according to a spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces.