Egypt to purchase military equipment from Russia

Russian presidential envoy to Africa, Mikhail Margelov, announced on Wednesday that Russia would supply Egypt with two billion dollars worth of military equipment as part of Egyptian-Russian military cooperation, the Middle East News Agency reported.

Margelov made the comments during a meeting at the London Institute for International Relations, according to MENA, quoting the Russian Novosti news agency.

Russia is willing to resume cooperation with countries that have experienced regime change since the “Arab Spring,” Margelov added.

Egypt’s relations with the US and Europe were strained following the removal of Mohamed Morsi from power, prompting visits, meetings and statements from Egyptian and Russian officials, and indicating a renewed relationship between the two countries.

The US withheld four F16 aircrafts, part of their annual aid package, pending a revisiting of international law regulating aid to Egypt.

In November, a popular delegation from Russia visited Egypt, followed by a visit from Russian Defense and Foreign Ministers to their Egyptian counterparts. The meetings gave rise to speculations over improving relations and increased cooperation between the two countries.

Shortly before the Russian officials’ visit, Novosti reported that Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, said in an interview to Russian state-owned television that Egypt is considering purchasing Russian arms, adding that the matter requires careful examination.

Also in November, head of the armed forces Abdel Fatah al-Sisi held official talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to discuss potential cooperation.

According to the Novosti report, Egypt has not bought Russian weapons since the early 1970s.

Abdel Raouf el-Reidy, head of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, told Mada Masr that renewed Egypt-Russian relations have no bearing on Egypt’s relationship with the US.

“As demonstrated by the Foreign Minister many times, Egypt is not replacing anyone with anyone else, it’s merely expanding its circle of friends. This is to be expected, since the US withheld some of its military aid, pushing Egypt to buy from Russia to fill the gap,” he said.

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