Egypt, Russia 'doing their best' to boost strategic relationship: Parliament speaker

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 26 Jan 2016

The speaker of the ‎Russian parliament said that Russian tourist traffic to Egypt is expected to resume soon

Egypt president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with the speaker of the ‎Russian parliament "the Duma" Sergey Naryshkin (Al-Ahram)

Egypt and Russia will do ‎their best to boost the relationship between ‎the two countries to a strategic level, said Egypt's parliament ‎speaker Ali Abdel-Al After a Tuesday meeting with the speaker of the ‎Russian parliament (the Duma) Sergey Naryshkin.

Abdel-Al told the conference that diplomatic visits between the two countries in the last two years ‎‎– specifically those by Egyptian ‎President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to Moscow ‎and Russian President Vladimir Putin to ‎Cairo– reflect ‎an official and popular will to build a ‎strategic relationship between the two ‎countries.

"We discussed how ‎we can forge strong relations on a ‎parliamentary level," said Abdel-Al about his meeting with Naryshkin, ‎addingthat a "parliamentary friendship ‎committee will be formed to speed up an ‎exchange of visits between parliamentary ‎officials in both Egypt and Russia and to ‎unity the position of parliaments in the two ‎countries on a number of international ‎issues, such as the war against terrorism, ‎the war in Syria and other issues ‎concerning the Middle East."‎

"This was a very successful visit ‎by Mr Naryshkin, who is a friend of the ‎Egyptian people," said Abdel-Al.‎

Naryshkin was Putin's special envoy ‎congratulating former army chief El-Sisi on ‎his election as president of Egypt in June ‎‎2014.

According to Abdel-Al, the meeting with ‎Naryshkin and a high-profile Russia ‎delegation also covered a range of economic and political issues, as well as the ‎necessity of finding solutions for any ‎problems that might negatively affect ‎cooperation between the two countries in ‎these two respects.‎

‎"We discussed the necessity of restoring ‎the influx of Russian tourists into Egypt and ‎the resumption of Russian flights to the ‎resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and other ‎Egyptian tourist destinations very soon," ‎said Abdel-Al.‎

Russia suspended its tourist flights to ‎Egypt last November after a Russian ‎airbus crashed in Sharm El-Sheikh last ‎October, killing all 212 passengers.‎

‎"We discussed the necessity of fighting all ‎forms of terrorism and how Egypt and ‎Russia can unite their efforts to stand up to ‎this threat at the international and regional ‎levels," said Abdel-Al.‎

For his part, Naryshkin said his visit ‎reflects Russia's strong interest in boosting ‎relations with Egypt on all levels.

"We view ‎Egypt as a regional power and a bastion of ‎stability in the Middle East and the Arab ‎world," said Naryshkin, adding that "the ‎fact that I am the first parliamentary ‎speaker of a foreign country to visit Egypt ‎and congratulate Abdel-Al on his election ‎as speaker of Egypt's new parliament ‎should be viewed as indicating that the ‎relationship between our two countries has ‎become of a very special nature."‎

Naryshkin said he asked Abdel-Al to lead ‎an Egyptian parliamentary ‎delegation to visit Russia as soon as ‎possible.

"We welcome a visit by a high-‎level parliamentary delegation to Moscow ‎very soon to reinforce the growing relations ‎between our two countries," said ‎Naryshkin.‎

Naryshkin said he agrees with Abdel-Al ‎that there is a pressing need for the ‎resumption of tourist traffic to Egypt "and I ‎am sure that this problem will be eliminated ‎very soon."

"I really thank the Egyptian ‎leadership for showing a lot of ‎understanding for the Russian concern ‎about the safety and security of Russian ‎citizens," said Naryshkin, adding that "aerial and security experts from the two ‎countries are currently exerting ‎tremendous efforts to guarantee the safety ‎of Russian citizens and that the decision of ‎the Russian government to establish a ‎consulate in Hurghada clearly testifies to ‎this fact and that tourist traffic to ‎Egypt will flow very soon."‎

Naryshkin also indicated that he affirmed ‎in his meeting with Abdel-Al that "the ‎terrorist attack on the Russian airbus in ‎Sinai never negatively affected the close ‎friendship between Egypt and Russia."‎

Naryshkin argued that an international ‎coalition should be formed to fight terrorism ‎in the Middle East.

"Egypt and Russia are ‎two influential countries that should play a ‎role in building this coalition," said ‎Naryshkin, stressing that he "visited ‎Algeria and Tunisia and is now in ‎Egypt to stress the need for a wide-scale ‎international coalition to fight terrorism."‎

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