Russia and Egypt are working on several strategic alliances. Russia has committed to assist in building Nuclear power plants, and interestingly both Egypt and Russia are negotiating plans to drop the dollar as their trade currency.
(Reuters) – United by a deep hostility toward Islamists, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday they were both committed to fighting the threat of terrorism.
The general and the former KGB officer found common ground on security at talks in Cairo that signaled a rapprochement between their two countries, at a time when relations between Egypt and the United States have cooled.
Sisi, who is fighting a raging Islamist insurgency in the Sinai region, said Putin had agreed with him that “the challenge of terrorism that faces Egypt, and which Russia also faces, does not stop at any borders”.
Putin, making his first state visit to Egypt in a decade, said they agreed on “reinforcing our efforts in combating terrorism”. He presented his host with a Russian-made Kalashnikov rifle, and Sisi handed him a plaque with a picture of Putin.
The Kremlin chief was the first leader of a major power to visit Egypt since former army chief Sisi became president in 2014, having toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi the previous year after mass protests against his rule.
Sisi has repeatedly called for concerted counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East and the West. Egypt has fought Islamist militancy for decades, mostly through security crackdowns that have weakened, but failed to eliminate, radical groups.
Highlighting the challenge, security sources on Tuesday said 15 suspected Islamist militants had been killed in air raids in the Sinai Peninsula. The interior ministry said suspected Islamist militants bombed three police stations in Egypt’s second city Alexandria on Tuesday.
Putin has also resorted to force against Islamists, sending troops to quell a separatist rebellion in Chechnya, but still confronts insurgents in parts of the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region. (read more)