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Russian air links with Egypt to be cut for several months: Kremlin

AFP , Tuesday 10 Nov 2015
Vnukovo airport employees unload luggage from an Emergency Ministry plane at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. The plane delivered luggage of tourists from the Egyptian resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh. Around 3 tons of luggage of tourists who departed with 5 flights before were reloaded by emergency ministry staff. (AP )

Air links between Russia and Egypt will be cut for at least several months after last month's air crash in which 224 died, the Kremlin's chief of staff said Tuesday.

"It's for a long time. For how long, I can't say, but I think for several months, at least," the Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Helsinki, quoted by Interfax news agency.

"To be honest, we stopped flights to Egypt, not knowing the final version (of the crash), but we did this as a preventative measure, as a precaution," he said.

He said that security systems needed to be improved not only in Sharm El-Sheikh, from where the ill-fated plane took off, but also in the beach resort of Hurghada and Cairo, "those places where Russian planes fly."

Russia halted flights to Egypt on 6 November until the reasons for the A321 charter plane's crash over Sinai on 31 October are fully established.

The remaining Russian holidaymakers are leaving the Sharm El-Sheikh resort with only hand luggage aboard special flights, with their suitcases sent on separate planes.

Britain and the United States, as well as international investigators, suspect a bomb exploded on board the Metrojet A-321 plane, but Egyptian officials insist there is no evidence yet of an attack on the aircraft which jihadists claim to have downed.

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