Egypt and Russia have signed a number of bilateral agreements to boost economic development, among which is an agreement to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, as Russian President Vladimir Putin concludes his first visit to Egypt in over a decade.
In a joint press conference on Tuesday, Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi lauded the cooperation between both countries and relayed the economic talks held during the visit.
In reference to the nuclear plant that will be located in the North Coast’s Dabaa area, Sisi said that both countries are cooperating in the energy field, particularly in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, pointing to Russia’s experience in that area. On his part, Putin said that not only will Russia help build a power plant, but it will also create and develop a new industry in the region and help with scientific research.
An agreement was also reached to establish a free-trade zone between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union, led by Russia. Putin stated that trade between both countries has increased by over 80 percent in 2014.
Hamdy Abdel Azim, economic expert and former president of Sadat Academy for business sciences, highlighted the importance of the bilateral economic agreements. He said that joining the Eurasian free-trade zone is important since Egypt is an importer more than it is an exporter, and a decrease in customs will have a strong impact on the economy.
Another deal was signed for Egypt to import natural gas from Russia, a step that will have a positive impact on the energy crisis, Abdel Azim said.
Both leaders also discussed economic ties in preparation for a summit to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh next March.
Sisi called for enhancing bilateral relations in other fields, including investment and tourism. Putin said that a record number of 3 million Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2014.
The Egyptian president also relayed some of the challenges currently facing Egypt and Russia, pointing specifically to terrorism. Sisi said combating this phenomenon needs international efforts, not only in terms of security, but also in confronting the social and ideological aspects that fuel it.
Putin and Sisi also discussed other regional issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and the situation in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.