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Egyptian minister hopes flights btw Egypt, Russia to resume before end-June

February 02, 2016, 23:59 UTC+3

In the meantime, officials at Cairo international airport on Tuesday revealed the plans to install two X-ray units there for inspecting cars

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CAIRO, February 2. /TASS/. Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Hossam Kamal has expressed the hope that commercial flights between Russia and Egypt will resume before the end of June.

He said talks with Moscow on the resumption of flights continued and the Russian side was showing readiness to return to put them back into schedules.

"I hope they will resume in the first half of this year," Kamal said.

In the meantime, officials at Cairo international airport on Tuesday revealed the plans to install two X-ray units there for inspecting cars. Each unit will cost €9 million.

Scanning equipment of this type will help identify explosive materials timely but will not affect traffic on the airport compound.

Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said earlier on the same day Egyptian counterpart were interested in purchasing a more efficacious and advanced complex for assuring all the security measures.

"We have the equipment of the type Egypt needs and we hope the Egyptian side will use our products along with the equipment from other countries," he said.

Flights between the two countries were suspended after the October 31, 2015 disaster involving an A321 jet of the Russian charter airline Metroject, which crashed in the central part of the Sinai Peninsula at daybreak some 23 minutes after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh.

The airliner was bound for St Petersburg. All the 217 passengers and seven crewmembers died.

Most of the victims were citizens of Russia. Also, there were three Ukrainians and a Belarusian among them.

The director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov reported to President Vladimir Putin that the jet had been downed as part of a terrorist act effectuated with the aid of an improvised explosive equivalent of 1 kg of the TNT. After the report, Moscow suspended all flights between Russia and Egypt and EgyptAir was affected by the step, too.

Egyptian authorities do not recognize the A321 crash as a terrorist act officially so far. Egyptian investigators have said on a number of occasions they are considering all the possible versions of the disaster and do not have more precise information on a terrorist act.

The A321 disaster brought to spotlight an acute problem with ensuring security at Egyptian airports. Experts from various countries have more than once inspected the status of security precautions there and the Britich company Control Risks gets down to work at the airports of Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh and Marsa Alamt this week.

The British experts will do the auditing of the air hubs and to draw up a report within three months on their compliance with international standards.

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