CAIRO, July 24. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Sunday starts his African tour on Sunday with a working visit to Egypt. On Saturday night the top diplomat arrived in Cairo.
As Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel, on Sunday Lavrov is to hold talks with the leadership of Egypt.
Lavrov's previous visit to Cairo took place in April 2021, and his Egyptian counterpart last visited Moscow in April of this year heading a delegation of the Arab League Ministerial Contact Group on Ukraine.
It is expected that during the current talks the parties will pay special attention to the situation around Ukraine, in particular to food supplies to Egypt. The Arab republic is the largest importer of wheat in the world, buying between 11 and 13 million tonnes annually, which is only half of the country's needs. Russia and Ukraine are the main exporters of wheat to Egypt. The conflict in Ukraine and Western anti-Russian sanctions have disrupted key grain supply chains. According to the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, Egypt's strategic grain reserves will last for several months. Under these conditions, it can be expected that Lavrov and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry will discuss in detail Russian wheat supplies to the Arab Republic.
Another possible topic on the agenda of talks is the energy sector considering that the construction of the first El-Dabaa nuclear power plant in the country has recently begun on the Mediterranean coast.
Perhaps the ministers will also touch upon the issues of ensuring the safety of Russian tourists in Egyptian resorts.
Lavrov and Shoukry will certainly exchange views on the situation in Libya. Moscow and Cairo are influential players in the Libyan settlement, and the positions of the two countries on this issue coincide or, at least, do not contradict each other. Meanwhile, the situation in this North African country shows no signs of improvement. On Friday, armed clashes took place in Tripoli and several other Libyan cities.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2017-2021 Egypt became one of the top three importers of Russian weapons in the world. In the same period, Russia became the main supplier of arms to Egypt accounting for 41% of the total Egyptian arms imports. To discuss sensitive security issues, there is a format of "two plus two" meetings between the ministers of foreign affairs and defense of Russia and Egypt. The last time negotiations in this format were held in June 2019. It is obvious that with the growth of global turbulence, convening a new meeting is becoming very relevant.