Egypt in talks with Russia to equip its new Mistral warships: Russian presidential aide

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Sep 2016

El-Sisi and Putin
File Photo: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) at Sochi last year (Photo: Reuters)

Russia and Egypt are pushing through with negotiations over supplies of communication equipment and helicopters for Egypt’s recently-acquired amphibious helicopter carriers Mistral, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin has said on Tuesday.

"There’ve been no contracts so far, but the talks are in progress," Kozhin said in statements reported by Russian news agency TASS.

The Russian presidential aide said that Cairo is “interested in the whole package” to equip its Mistral ships.

Last June, Egypt received one of two French Mistral helicopter carriers as part of a 950 million euro deal signed with France last year.

The second carrier is yet to be delivered later in September.

An official at the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation -- a Russian state corporation that aims to facilitate the manufacture of high-tech products for communication and automated control systems to meet the needs of the Russian army -- told TASS that communication and control equipment for the Mistrals is almost ready for delivery to Egypt and may be provided within the tightest deadlines, if a contract is finalised.

The communication and control systems will enable the ships to interact with coastal infrastructure and command posts as well as launch amphibious assaults.

On Monday, Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu said that Egypt aims to equip its army with modern Russian-produced weaponry in statements reported by Sputnik News.

The statements by the Russian officials come during a visit by Egypt's defence minister Sedki Sobhi to Russia, where he heads a top military delegation that includes Egypt's military production minister Mohamed El-Assar.

According to an Egyptian army statement, the visit "constitutes a third meeting for the Egyptian-Russian military committee to discuss aspects of military cooperation between the two countries in various fields."

This is the latest in a series of visits focused on boosting military cooperation between Egypt and Russia, who are partners in coordinating efforts to fight terrorism.

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