Putin announces plan to visit Egypt for ceremony at Dabaa nuclear site

Ahram Online , Tuesday 5 Sep 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded on Tuesday to an invitation from Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, following talks on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in China

El-Sisi and Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Photo: AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he plans to visit Egypt soon, responding to an invitation from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Dabaa nuclear power plant on Egypt's Mediterranean coast.

Putin made his comments at the close of the BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen on Tuesday, according to Russia Today, which quoted the Russian leader.

Putin also discussed resuming Russian passenger flights to Egypt, which have been suspended due to security concerns since a Russian airliner crashed over Sinai in October 2015.

He said that Russia expects the issue to be resolved in the near future, adding that Moscow is aware of the efforts being made by Cairo.

The Russian president said that his country wants to resume tourist flights to Egypt.

Since the 2015 crash, which was the result of a terrorist bomb claimed by Daesh, Egypt has been implementing more rigorous security measures at all its airports.

Russian security experts have carried out a series of inspections at Egyptian airports over the past year, seeking to ensure the new measures meet Russian standards.

The statements by Putin come one day after a meeting with El-Sisi on Monday on the sidelines of the Chinese summit. 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.

In November 2015, El-Sisi oversaw the signing of the deal between Egypt and Russia to establish the first Egyptian nuclear power plant.

Expected to be completed within 12 years, the Dabaa plant will be the largest Russian-Egyptian project since the Aswan Dam, the then-head of Rosatom said during the signing ceremony in 2015.

According to the draft agreement, Russia will loan Egypt the $25 billion needed to finance the building and operation of the plant.

Egypt is to pay the loan back at an interest rate of three percent annually, with payments beginning in 2029.

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