Mubarak meets top Russian envoy

AFP, Wednesday 9 Feb 2011

Russian deputy foreign minister and Middle East envoy expresses concern over Egypt situation

Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak met a senior Russian envoy Wednesday amid mounting protests against his three decade-long rule over the Arab world's most populous country.

Mubarak met Alexander Sultanov, deputy Russian foreign minister and special Middle East envoy, at the presidential palace in Cairo, as thousands protested in the city's Tahrir Square and outside parliament.

State agency MENA reported the meeting but gave no details of the talks.

Russia has expressed concern over the situation in Egypt, where massive anti-regime protests have entered their third week, and called on the United Nations Security Council to send a mission to the region.

The Security Council has not visited the troubled Middle East for more than 30 years.

Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Tuesday that council envoys should go to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had previously said Egypt should resolve the political crisis through dialogue between Mubarak and his opponents, and has warned foreign powers not to issue "ultimatums" to the regime.

Mubarak's ties with Moscow stretch back decades. He spent two years training to become a fighter pilot in a Soviet military academy. Later, he worked to improve ties with the Kremlin despite his strong reliance on US funding.

Sultanov is the second senior envoy that Mubarak has met since the crisis began.

On Tuesday, he held talks with the Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

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