Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived to the Egyptian capital Cairo Tuesday, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other senior defense officials.
“I am delighted to convey to you the best wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Shoigu said during his meeting with el-Sisi. He added that the results of the recent bilateral summit between Putin and el-Sisi confirmed that Egypt currently occupies one of the most leading positions in Africa and remains a strategic ally for Russia in the region.
“The Egyptian President and Armed Forces are the guarantors of the independent and stable development of the country, curbing the spread of the terrorist threat in North Africa,” Shoigu said.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense is ready to assist in strengthening the capacity of the Egyptian national armed forces and defense capabilities,” he said.
Shoigu expressed gratitude to the Egyptian President for the opportunity to meet and discuss current issues related to Russian-Egyptian military and technical-military cooperation, the state-run Russian News Agency Sputnik reported.
For his part, President el-Sisi indicated that he hoped the 6th plenary session of the Russian-Egyptian joint committee on military-technical cooperation, held in Cairo Tuesday, would be fruitful.
“The Russian Defense Minister will hold a separate meeting within the activities of the joint committee with the Egyptian Minister of Defense Colonel General Mohamed Zaki,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Rossiyana Markovskaya told reporters on Tuesday.
“The meeting will focus on international and regional security issues, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as priority issues of Russian-Egyptian military-technical and military cooperation,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed Saeed el Assaar also held talks on Tuesday with Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Oleg Ryazantsev and his accompanying delegation on means of enhancing cooperation between the two sides, Egypt’s State Information Service reported.
The meeting comes in the wake of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s participation in the Russia-Africa Summit, which was held in the Russian city of Sochi last month and witnessed full coordination and cooperation between the Egyptian and Russian leaders, a statement released by the Military Production Minister said.
The meeting, held at the Ministry’s premises, underlined profound and strong bilateral relations which date back to more than 70 years.
The meeting also reflected the Ministry’s keenness on promoting cooperation with the Russian companies in the various fields using the available updated potentials, in terms of military and civilian industries, in joint manufacturing, the statement added.
The Russian official stressed his country's keenness on boosting economic cooperation with Egypt which is considered as Russia's key trade partner in the Middle East and Africa, the statement said.
Egyptian-Russian relations witnessed strategic developments during 2017 especially at its end, in conjunction with Russian President Putin's visit to Cairo, which was accompanied by resolving a number of outstanding issues, including signing contracts for the Dabaa nuclear plant. Accordingly, further progress is expected during the current year, Daily News Egypt noted.
In the same context, Egypt hosted for the first time late last month, the activities of the Egyptian-Russian joint training “Arrow of Friendship-1”, between elements of the Egyptian and Russian air defense forces.
In the same month, the two countries held the tactical “Protectors of Friendship – 2018” tactical exercise, involving more than 400 military personnel from the two countries, 10 pieces of military equipment, and 15 aircraft and helicopters for various purposes.