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Egypt's Sisi congratulates Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election victory

With 99% of votes counted by Sunday evening, Russian elections officials said that Putin had won 76.66% of votes, meaning that a second round of polling would not be needed

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Mar 2018
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2017(Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has congratulated his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin on his re-election on Sunday, wishing him success in office, and wishing the friendly Russian people further progress and prosperity.

"The Egyptian president hailed the strategic relations between Egypt and Russia and the two countries' keenness to strengthen ties that serve the interests of the two friendly nations," according to a statement issued by the presidential spokesman.

Putin won a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, extending his rule over the world's largest country for another six years. Now aged 65, he will be 71 years old by the end of his new term.

He has been in power, either prime minister or president, since 2000, sharing power with close political ally Dmitry Medvedev, who is the current prime minister and served as president from 2008 to 2012.

Ella Pamfilova, head of the Russian Central Election Commission, said on Sunday that with 99 percent of votes counted, Putin was leading with 76.66 percent of the vote, according to state-run media outlet Russia Today (RT). The size of Putin's apparent victory means there will be no need for a second round of voting.

Of Putin's five opponents in the election, none came close to mounting a serious challenge. In second place was Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin with 11.8 percent, followed by nationalist candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky on 5.66 percent.

According to Pamfilova, there had been some "minor and local complaints" regarding electoral procedure, but no major complaints that might call the result into question, said RT.

Following the announcement of the results, Putin attended a huge rally in Moscow, thanking his supporters and answering questions on political topics.

El-Sisi's message of congratulations to Putin comes one week before domestic votes are cast in Egypt's own presidential election, where the Egyptian president looks likely to be returned to power for another four years.

Egypt and Russia have engaged in wide-ranging political, military and economic cooperation in recent years. In December, Putin visited Cairo, holding talks with El-Sisi on a range of regional issues, including the conflicts in Libya and Syria and the search for a solution to the Israel-Palestine issue.

During Putin's visit, Egypt and Russia signed a deal for the start of work on Egypt's first nuclear power station, to be located at Dabaa on the country's Mediterranean coast.

The two leaders also continued discussions on efforts to boost economic ties, including Russian investment in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and the establishment of a Russian free-trade zone.

Putin also said that he would soon be giving the order for the resumption of tourist flights to Egypt, which were stopped after the crash of a Russian commercial flight over the Sinai in 2015, killing all 224 people aboard. Moscow said the crash was due to a terrorist bomb and insisted on improved security procedures at Egyptian airports.

In mid-March this year, Aeroflot, Russia's biggest commercial airline, said it would be resuming flights to Cairo starting on April 11. Egypt's own flagship carrier EgyptAir is due to resume flights to Moscow the same month.

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