Egypt FM discusses resumption of Russian flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada during Moscow visit

Ahram Online , Thursday 29 Oct 2020

Shoukry met with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, called self-isolated Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov

Shoukry and Patrushev
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during his meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow on Thursday (Photos courtesy of Egyptian Foreign Ministry)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed on Thursday that "Egypt aspires to resume charter flights between Russian cities and the cities of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada," especially since Egyptian airports are taking the highest security measures, a statement by the ministry read.

Shoukry's remarks came during his meeting with Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov in Moscow.

Russia resumed regular international flights to Cairo on 3 September, after a six-month hiatus due to the spread of the coronavirus whereas, Egypt began a gradual resumption of regular international flights on 1 July, having closed its airspace in March.

Nevertheless, the return of Russian charter flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts are still suspended since the downing of a Russian flight over Sinai in October 2015.

Spokesperson of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez said in the statement that the two ministers discussed the means of developing bilateral relations.

Hafez added that the two ministers emphasised on the close and complex relations that bind the two countries and the need to work on strengthening and expanding them to reach broader horizons and to include all areas of cooperation.

Shoukry and Manturov
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov prior their meeting in Moscow on Thursday

They moreover tackled the latest developments related to the coronavirus pandemic with Shoukry voicing Egypt’s readiness to cooperate with Russia in manufacturing and producing a coronavirus vaccine, the statement said.

According to the statement, both ministers have discussed developments regarding the Egyptian El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, stressing their commitment to going ahead with implementing this project.

El-Dabaa, Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, is to be built in the Marsa Matrouh governorate on the Mediterranean coast and 250km west of Alexandria. The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) will develop the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant, which will be owned and operated by the Nuclear Power Plant Authority of Egypt.

According to the project design, the nuclear plant will have four VVER-1200 reactor units. The first unit is scheduled to go critical in 2026. 

Both ministers also hailed the Egyptian-Russian cooperation in the field of railways, especially in the recent deal to supply 1,300 train carriages from Russia to Egypt.

The 1.16 billion euro deal, the largest in the history of Egyptian railways, is between the Egyptian Railways Authority and JSC Transmash, the largest manufacturer of locomotives and railway equipment in Russia.

In addition, Shoukry said that Egypt is committed to finalising measures needed for implementing the Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal corridor, which he described as one of the largest strategic cooperation projects between both countries.

According to a separate statement by the Egyptian ministry, Shoukry held another meeting on the same day with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in which they discussed a number of regional and international issues of common interest.

Later on the same day, according to a third statement, Shoukry had a telephone with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in which he was reassured on the health of the latter who voluntarily self-isolated after interacting with coronavirus cases.

Shoukry and Lavrov also exchanged views on the situation in the region, particularly in connection to the peace process in the Middle East and recent developments in the efforts to reach a solution to the Libyan crisis.

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