Russia's Putin arrives in Egypt to meet Sisi

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Feb 2015

El-Sisi visited Moscow twice last year, but it's Putin's first visit to Cairo since 2005

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Vladimir Putin
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (front R) talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front L) during a welcoming ceremony upon Putin's arrival at Cairo International Airport February 9, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
Russia's president Vladimir Putin arrived in Cairo on Monday evening on a landmark two-day visit aimed at boosting Moscow's relations with Cairo.
 
The Russian head of state was welcomed by his Egyptian counterpart, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, at the capital's airport.

Putin last visited Egypt a decade ago in 2005, when Hosni Mubarak was president.

Putin and Sisi conducted a brief talk before heading to Cairo's Opera House near downtown Cairo to watch a video about the history of the countries' relations, after which they will have dinner, the state-owned Ahram Arabic news website has reported.

After Putin's official welcoming ceremony on Tuesday, the presidents will hold a joint press conference, according to Ahram Arabic. The countries' delegation will then engage in talks, after which the presidents will sign a number of strategic and economic agreements.

El-Sisi visited Moscow twice over the past year, first as defence minister in February, then as president in August. A preliminary arms deal worth $3.5 billion was reached between both countries last September.

The Egyptian president's visit to Russia and subsequent one to China was seen by many analysts as an Egyptian attempt to break out of its relative isolation towards the end of the Mubarak-era, especially after its strong relations with the United State notably deteriorated after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Talks on Tuesday are to include topics such as fighting in Libya, the civil war in Syria and Palestinian-Israeli peace.

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