Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told TASS that Egypt hopes Russia takes a prompt decision to resume flights to Egyptian resorts ahead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Cairo on Monday.
Russia suspended flights to Egypt in 2015 over a Russian plane crash over Sinai, which killed all 224 people on board.
Although Russia has resumed flights to Cairo as per a Russian presidential decree in 2018, charter flights to Egyptian resorts such as Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada are still banned.
Shoukry affirmed to TASS that Egypt has done its “utmost to reach the top security level” at Egyptian airports and resorts.
The Egyptian FM also affirmed that the country has taken all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in resort cities.
Shoukry said millions of visitors from a variety of countries have visited Egypt since the pandemic and returned home without being infected by the novel virus.
Since the plane crash, Egypt has upgraded and boosted safety systems at all airports countrywide, including screening, control, and check-in of passengers and baggage.
Egypt has also allowed multiple inspection visits from Russian security experts to certify its safety measures and security arrangements at various airports.
Prior to the plane crash, Russian tourists comprised one of the largest tourist groups to Egypt.
In 2014, 3 million Russian tourists visited Egypt, and in 2015, 2.4 million Russians visited the country prior to the plane crash.
In the interview with TASS, Shoukry hailed the relations of Cairo and Moscow as “distinctively deep and serve the interests of both countries.”
Shoukry said will discuss with Lavrov regional and international issues of mutual concern as well as bilateral ties.
"In terms of development of bilateral relations, we plan to discuss the overcoming of all existing difficulties related to administrative and executive structure, the progress in implementation of previously achieved agreements, and the legal basis that we negotiated earlier," he said.
Shoukry said he will talk with Lavrov about the nuclear power plant project in El-Dabaa, the Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal area, and assistance in railroad development by shipment of train cars in cooperation with Hungary.
"Of course, the negotiations agenda includes the development of trade volume between the two countries, the Egypt’s request on accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the support we receive from Russia in this regard, in addition to the regional situation,” Shoukry said.
He added the regional issues will include the Palestinian issue and crises in Syria and Libya, the achievement of stability in the Middle East in general, as well as resolution of global issues that affect peace and security.