President Sisi receives Russian President Putin at Cairo Airport on Monday 11 December 2017 (Snapshot extra news)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah received Russian President Vladimir Putin at Cairo International Airport on Monday afternoon at the start of Putin's second official visit to Egypt.
Putin is set to hold talks with El-Sisi on a number of issues, including the construction of the Dabaa nuclear plant, the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt, the US decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and various regional crises, including Libya and Syria, the presidency told the official news agency MENA.
Putin's first official visit to the country took place in February 2015.
On his way to Cairo, Putin made a surprise visit to Syria on Monday morning where he ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the war-torn country.
The Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady explained that an Egyptian-Russian document authorising the commencement of work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant will be inked during the summit on Monday.
The agreement stipulates Russia will build four-reactors which will produce 4,800 megawatt, 1200 megawatts capacity for each. The first reactor is expected to begin operations in 2024. The project is expected to be completed in 12 years at the cost of $25 billion.
Rady added that the bilateral talks between the two leaders would also focus on the return of Russian flights to Egypt in the near future. Russia suspended flights to Egypt in November 2015 after a Russian commercial flight crashed over Sinai shortly after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 224 people aboard.
Egypt has been implementing tighter security measures at its airports to meet Russian demands on security, with the aim of restoring Russian visitors to boost its tourism industry.
Monday's talks will also cover a range of regional crises, said Rady, with the two leaders seeking to firm up efforts at bilateral cooperation.
Among the proposals under discussion will be a formal bilateral framework between the two countries’ foreign and defense ministers, or a “two-plus-two” dialogue mechanism.
Rady said that there is now a convergence of views between Russia and Egypt on several regional issues, especially the situations in Syria and Libya.
With regard to the Palestine cause, Rady said that Russia welcomes the national Palestinian reconciliation process, which was initiated through Egyptian efforts under the sponsorship of President El-Sisi.
The Egyptian spokesman said Egypt and Russia are in agreement on the rejection of US President Donald Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, with Egypt and Russia affirming that the move does not help the Palestinian cause.