Russia trip new start to military cooperation: Egypt's El-Sisi

Ahram Online, MENA, Thursday 13 Feb 2014

In his two-day visit to Moscow, El-Sisi discussed military cooperation between Egypt and Russia

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks with Egypt's military chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that his trip to Russia marks a new start for military and technical cooperation between the countries, a partnership that is based on common interests, state news agency MENA reported.

El-Sisi said that during a time of "fluctuation" in the Middle East, Egypt is committed to its friendship and feelings of respect for Russia.

The defence minister said that Egypt is facing challenges in this current "complicated period," especially terrorism, and that Egypt was doing its best to control the situation.

The country has been rocked with a number of attacks on police and army personnel since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin wished El-Sisi luck in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections. El-Sisi is expected to shortly announce his candidacy for the elections, which he is widely tipped to win by an overwhelming majority.

El-Sisi's two-day trip to Moscow along with Egyptian foreign affairs minister Nabil Fahmy is in response to a historic visit to Cairo last November by their Russian counterparts.

The November talks between El-Sisi and Russian defence minister Sergei Shoygu resulted in a weapons deal.

AFP reported at the time that Moscow had signed a deal to provide Egypt with air defence missile systems.

The US Congress recently passed a new bill restoring more than $1.5 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt, which had been largely cut off amid concerns over the country's democratic transition and mounting violence following Morsi's ouster.

The US's change of heart towards Egypt comes after a constitutional referendum in January in which a newly-amended charter was ratified.

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