Egypt's El Sisi receives Russian delegation in talks to boost relations

Countries plan to boost co-operation in a number of key sectors

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi hosts a Russian state delegation in Cairo. Photo: Egyptian presidency
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Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi received on Sunday a delegation of Russian officials that included the country’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and Mikhail Bogdanov, a special envoy of President Vladimir Putin.

At the meeting, which was also attended by the vice president of the Central Bank of Russia and the federation’s ambassador in Cairo, Mr El Sisi discussed with the Russian officials increasing economic relations, a presidency communique said.

A joint Egyptian-Russian committee is currently convening in Cairo to outline co-operation in the fields of commerce, industry, research and the arts, the communique said.

The committee’s meeting this month marks the 14th year it has convened to bolster relations between Moscow and Cairo.

The meeting also addressed the latest on Russia’s investments in Egypt which Mr El Sisi hopes to boost.

Additionally, further trading of wheat and grains was discussed “in light of the continuing crisis in this regard”, as per the communique.

Among the Russian-funded projects discussed at the meeting was the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which Moscow is building on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

The establishment of a Russian industrial complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, a large-scale trade hub on the banks of the vital waterway, was also discussed.

Cairo hopes to co-manufacture goods with Russian producers operating in the canal zone, the presidency’s communique said.

Egypt and Russia celebrated 80 years of bilateral relations on March 9. Mr El Sisi and Mr Putin spoke on the phone to mark the occasion.

Along with Ukraine, Russia is Egypt’s biggest supplier of wheat, grain and tourists.

Egypt imported 4.9 million tonnes of Russian grain in 2022, according to data published by the Russian Embassy in Cairo.

Cairo’s reliance on Russian grain is expected to continue throughout 2023, a January statement from Egypt’s state grain buyer said.

Analysts have also said that after announcing its exit from the UN Grain Trades Convention, Egypt will look more towards Russia to fulfil the grain needs of its 104 million population.

In January, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister said Moscow was studying a mechanism to settle payments for grain exports to Egypt in roubles instead of dollars.

As Moscow continues to face harsh sanctions from the US and Europe, it has intensified its efforts to bolster its relations with African and Arab nations since its invasion of Ukraine last year.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressed the Arab League in July in Cairo in a bid to curry favour among its member states.

Updated: March 19, 2023, 6:04 PM