Russia's Putin congratulates El-Sisi on his 'convincing' victory

Ahram Online, Friday 30 May 2014

Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with the Russian president in February

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) shakes hands with back-then Egypt's Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, February 13, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Egypt's president-elect, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Friday, on his "convincing" victory in this week's presidential election. 

According to a statement published by the Russian presidency, the two state leaders "agreed to maintain active contacts and exchange visits at the top level."

"Both leaders expressed confidence that the rich tradition of friendly relations between Russia and Egypt will continue to develop in all areas," read the statement adding that for his part El-Sisi has said - during that phone call - that "he is ready for close cooperation with Russia on bilateral issues and on the international agenda."

El-Sisi garnered over 90 percent of votes cast in the three-day presidential vote that concluded on Wednesday, according to preliminary counts. Official results will be released next week.

Following a two-day visit by El-Sisi to Moscow in February, Putin announced that he wished him luck in the presidential candidacy, before El-Sisi had officially announced that he would run.

Some analysts have argued that Egypt has been moving closer to Russia since last summer's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi after mass protests against his rule. Military contracts worth $2 billion were discussed during a visit by Russian officials to Cairo in November 2013 and subsequently during El-Sisi's Moscow trip.

Egypt had strong ties with Russia in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Soviet Union was the main supplier of arms to Egypt until the early 1970s. Relations soured after Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty bringing in some $1.3 billion in annual US military aid to Cairo in 1979.

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