Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared his support for Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidential bid, the UK-based BBC channel reported on Thursday.
Sisi was visiting Moscow with Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy when Putin made the remarks.
“I know that you, Mr. Defense Minister, have decided to run for president of Egypt,” BBC quoted Putin as saying.
“I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people.”
The visit has been described as a symptom of deteriorating relations between Egypt’s military-backed interim government and US President Barack Obama’s administration.
But according to Fahmy, “The meeting was not against anyone, but meant to diversify Cairo’s partners,” reported the Euronews website.
“Our bilateral relations are founded on a solid basis with historic roots. We feel a friendly atmosphere and expect to build our common future together in the interests of our countries and people, and to develop relations in all spheres, from politics to culture and military cooperation,” said Fahmy.
A statement issued by the two countries declared a joint opposition to foreign intervention in the ongoing conflict in Syria, the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
Declaring the “right of the Syrian people to live in prosperity, peace, stability and freedom,” the statement echoed the need for a “political solution” for the deadly turmoil through direct negotiations between the Assad regime and the opposition, according to the recommendations of Geneva 2 Conference.
The statement also encouraged a complete halt to the chemical weapons program in the embattled country, and demanded that the conflicting political factions facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.