Sisi holds talks with Putin on sidelines of BRICS summit in China

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Sep 2017

In his speech at the BRICS summit, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi outlined Egypt's economic reforms and highlighted improved opportunities for investment

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during their meeting during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen on September 4, 2017. (AFP)

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen, state-run news agency MENA reported.

The meeting included talks on several bilateral and international topics of a common interest, said MENA.

According to the presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef, Putin praised the increase in trade between the two countries, as well as the bilateral coordination on regional and international issues.

Meanwhile, El-Sisi invited Putin to attend a celebration at the site of the Dabaa nuclear-power station, which Egypt is planning to build with Russian assistance.

Sisi and Putin also tackled the issue of resuming Russian flights to Egypt, which have been suspended for security reasons since late 2015. Putin showed his appreciation for Egypt's efforts to make its airports secure, saying he hoped flights would resume soon, following technical consultations between the two sides.

The Egyptian and Russian presidents also addressed the various conflicts in the region, agreeing on the need for political solutions to those conflicts in order to restore security and stability to the Middle East.

El-Sisi is also expected to holding bilateral meetings with his Chinese and Indian counterparts during the three-day summit, as well as meeting with a number of large Chinese companies investing in Egypt.

The Egyptian president arrived in China on Sunday to participate in the BRICS summit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Earlier today, Sisi delivered a speech before the BRICS Business Forum, where he spoke of Egypt's economic reform program, and related reforms of the subsidy system and social security system.

During his speech, he also mentioned changes to the nation's monetary policies, with flexible exchange rates, aimed at eliminating the black market, increasing the competitiveness of Egyptian exports, and attracting investments.

Also stressed in the speech was the new investment law, that El-Sisi said provides many advantages and incentives to invest in different fields, including strategic projects.

He said that the length of time required to obtain industrial licenses had been reduced from 600 days to only seven days, reflecting Egypt's willingness to provide an environment that is friendly to business and investment.

A number of national projects were also highlighted during the speech, in the fields of infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture, and the construction of new cities.

Egypt's ambassador to China, Osama El-Magdoub, said earlier on Sunday that many joint projects between the two countries, in various fields, will be announced soon.

Speaking on the first day of the summit, El-Magdoub told Egyptian private news channel Extra News that relations between Cairo and Beijing are witnessing strong growth, and that the Chinese are interested in investing in Egypt.

The Egyptian ambassador said China would be investing $3.2 billion in Egypt's new administrative capital, with Chinese companies making other investments totaling $8 billion.

The summit, which features the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is being held from 3 to 5 September. The theme of the ninth annual summit is “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”.

According to El-Magdoub, China supports Egypt’s recent programme of economic reforms.

He said the summit would focus on economic issues, and will address the means of cooperating to overcome the problems of the global economy, especially structural issues.

Egypt is focusing on several major issues during the meetings at Xiamen, such as activating cooperation between the countries of the global south, especially among BRICS countries and emerging economies such as Egypt.

The suggested focus of cooperation is in fields of investment and infrastructure.

Egypt is also addressing ways of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, as well as consolidating the cooperation between Egypt – as a representative of Arab countries – and China’s "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

The initiative aims at reviving the ancient trade routes between China and the Mediterranean countries through Asia and Europe.

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