Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al will receive a high-profile delegation from Russia Tuesday.
According to a press release, the delegation, led by speaker of the Russian parliament Sergy Naryshikin, will include a number of prominent MPs in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament of the Russian Federation), journalists and businessmen.
The release said the fact that the visit comes only three weeks after the first sitting of Egypt's new parliament on 10 January testifies to growing relations between Egypt and Russia at all levels.
"Abdel-Al will receive Naryshikin at 2pm Tuesday to boost parliamentary, political and economic cooperation between Egypt and Russia," said the release.
Informed sources said the Russian delegation will also meet with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and other leading Egyptian officials.
Naryshikin's visit comes only few days after China's President XI Jinping met with Abdel-Al last week to congratulate him on his election as speaker of Egypt's new parliament.
Emad Gad, an Al-Ahram political analyst and MP with the liberal Free Egyptians Party, told Ahram Online that "The visits from China and Russia reflect a growing interest on the part of these two countries in fostering ties at all levels with Egypt."
"In the past, we were seeing delegations from the US Congress coming to Egypt, but now it is delegations from America's two rivals — Russia and China —who are most interested in visiting Egypt," said Gad.
Gad said that President's El-Sisi moves in his first two years in office to build new bridges with Beijing and Moscow has helped stabilise Egypt's foreign relations. "You are not now relying on one superpower (that was America under the regime of Hosni Mubarak), but have strategic relationships with more than one superpower, mainly Russia and China," said Gad.
After his meeting with China's head of state 21 January, Abdel-Al said President XI Jinping expressed his wish that an Egyptian parliamentary delegation visit China very soon to create greater links with the National People's Congress (the Chinese parliament).
Abdel-Al indicated that as parliament speaker he will not be able to travel abroad before Egypt's membership in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is reinstated. IPU speaker Saber Chowdhury announced 21 January that Egypt will officially rejoin the IPU during its General Assembly meetings in Lusaka (Zambia) on 22 March.
Gad expects that the visit of the Russian delegation this week will help restore the influx of Russian tourists into Egypt after the crash of a Russian Airbus above Sinai last November and lead to further coordination on important issues such as fighting terrorism.
"The fact that this delegation includes businessmen and journalists shows that relations with Russia have survived the plane crash in Sinai and that Russia under President Vladimir Putin is keen to push relations with Egypt to higher levels," said Gad.