Egypt's Sisi, Putin discuss resumption of Red Sea flights, joint projects at Beijing summit

Ahram Online , Friday 26 Apr 2019

File photo: File photo: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (R) shakes hands with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the resumption of direct Russian flights to Egyptian Red Sea resorts, as well as a nuclear plant Russia will build in the country, during talks in Beijing on Friday, El-Sisi’s office said.

The two leaders met in the Chinese capital on the sidelines of an international summit of world leaders to discuss China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

Putin and El-Sisi discussed resuming Russian flights to Egypt’s popular destinations of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada on the Red Sea, a key topic of discussion between Egyptian and Russian officials for the last several years.

“The Russian president praised efforts made by the Egyptian authorities in securing airports, which will support the resumption of Russian flights after the conclusion of ongoing technical consultations between the two sides,” a statement by a spokesman for El-Sisi read.

Air traffic from Russia to Egypt was suspended in October 2015 after a Russian flight travelling from Egypt’s popular tourist resort town Sharm El-Sheikh crashed in the Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot restarted flights to Egypt’s capital Cairo in April 2018, but other flight routes remain suspended.

The pair also discussed a number of joint projects including an industrial zone Russia is building in the economic zone around the Suez Canal, as well as Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, which Moscow is scheduled to start building in 2020 on the country’s Mediterranean cost, the spokesman said.

They also talked about boosting security and counter-terrorism cooperation as well as working together in Africa, in the context of Egypt’s 2019 presidency of the African Union. 

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