Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Monday to Egypt, in a historic two-day visit aimed at boosting both economic and political ties between Russia and Egypt. Accompanied by a high-level delegation, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greeted President Putin at Cairo International Airport. The two presidents headed to the Cairo Opera House where they attended a cultural show on Egyptian-Russian relations. They later had dinner at the Cairo Tower, one of Cairo’s landmarks.
Hundreds of Russian flags and posters of Putin have been put up across Cairo to welcome the visiting president whose last visit to Cairo was in 2005.
The Russian President presented Mr Sisi with a Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle.
The official reception of President Putin took place Tuesday 10 February at Qubba Palace, and was followed by talks between the two presidents.
A press conference was held at the palace where Sisi announced that Moscow will cooperate with Cairo in construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt in the northwest region of al-Dabaa. Sisi also said that Cairo will strengthen its military ties with Moscow.
Sisi and Putin pointed out that their talks involved Palestinian-Israeli struggle, as well as the conflict in Libya and Syria.
In a courtesy move President Putin met His Holiness Theodoros II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa.
In an interview with the State owned Al-Ahram newspaper Putin said that bilateral trade between Egypt and Russia registered USD4.5bn in 2014, up by 50 per cent from 2013. He also pointed out that several Russian companies in the sectors of electricity, energy, and car manufacturing are willing to enter the Egyptian market.
Prior to his visit Putin had suggested the two countries would discuss ending the use of the US dollar in bilateral trade, switching to national currencies instead.
On the other hand the Western media unanimously suggest that although both countries really aim at strengthening their relations, Putin’s visit to Cairo is primarily intended to send pointed messages to the US and the international community that Egypt and Russia’s foreign policies are not to be dictated by others.
10 February 2015