Armed Forces commander-in-chief Colonel General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu started official talks on Thursday. They discussed potential ways for the countries to collaborate, reported the privately owned daily newspaper Al-Shorouk.
Sisi said that today’s talks marked the 70th anniversary of Egypt and Russia forging bilateral relations, as well as the beginning of new possibilities for cooperation.
The defense minister added that this mutual cooperation was intended to strengthen peace and stability in the Middle East, the regulator of the world’s security, Al-Shorouk reported.
The talks coincided with the arrival of a Russian military ship to Safaga Port, reported the independent daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY). Sources claimed that the ship came directly from Russia to Safaga without stopping in any other international harbor, and that personnel aboard the ship would engage in unofficial training sessions with the Egyptian marine forces, AMAY reported.
In light of these renewed bilateral relations, several investors have called for increased trade with Russia, AMAY added.
But Sherif al-Beltagy, the head of the export council for agricultural crops, qualified these calls by stating that renewed relations with Russia wouldn’t mean that Egypt would give up on its biggest trade partner, the European Union.
“The aim is to develop more relations, not to turn solely to the Russian market,” Beltagy told AMAY.
Russian Cultural Center head Sherif Gad added that the return of these bilateral relations was like “the return of a loyal close friend that stood by Egypt in the toughest times.”
Gad told AMAY that Russia was one of the first countries to allow its citizens to travel to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurgada after countries across the world issued travel bans on Egypt following former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster on July 3.