Russia wants to resume flights to Egypt in shortest time, FM Lavrov says

Reuters , Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Mar 2016

The Russian FM said provision of sound security in Egyptian airports is needed for tourists to return to the country

Sharm El-shikh resort (AP)
Sharm El-shikh resort (AP)

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he agreed with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that the two countries would make joint efforts to resume direct flights between Russia to Egypt in the shortest possible period of time.

At a joint press conference in Moscow with Shoukry on Wednesday, Lavrov said Rusian flights would be resumed if the highest level of security was provided, said Lavrov 

Russia's government is also considering reopening its consulate in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada in the near future.

In November 2015, following the downing of a Russian airliner over Sinai, Russia, and several European countries, Russia suspended flights to Egypt's Red sea coastal cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, citing concerns over security conditions in Egyptian airports.

The crash of the Russian airliner left all 224 people on board dead.

The IS group claimed responsibility for the deadly incident.

On Monday, Shoukry told Russian news agency Sputnik that security experts expressed satisfaction with the work completed so far to ensure security at three major Egyptian airports, in full cooperation with, and acting on recommendations made by Russian inspectors.

"We are providing maximum assistance and support to the Russian and Egyptian experts working on [air travel] security. The Egyptian people are waiting for a positive signal from the Russian side on the possibility of restoring this vital area for the Egyptian economy," Shoukry said.

Last month, Egypt hired a British security firm to reevaluate security precautions in place at its airports.

Egypt's top diplomat told members of Russia's Duma in ameeting that four million Egyptians employed in the tourist sector are looking forward to hosting Russian holidaymakers again.

Last month, Egypt's Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou said that the loss of Russian and British tourists following the deadly plane crash over Sinai last year was costing the Egyptian tourism sector $300 million a month.

At the time of the airliner crash, it was believed that 80,000 Russian citizens stayed in Hurghada alone.

On the regional crisis in Syria, the Russian foreign minister said both Moscow and Cairo have agreed to cooperate closely to settle the armed conflict in war-torn country.

“We agreed to continue close cooperation within the framework of the International Support Syria Group in the context of these positive changes that have been noted lately, the success of the realisation of the Russian-American initiative in regard to the cessation of hostilities, providing humanitarian access to the populations in need, and to the beginning the political process,” he said.

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