Egypt’s President Abel Fattah al-Sisi has announced he will make his third visit to Russia on August 25, when he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to “boost strategic relations” and “enhance cooperation with Russia in various fields, particularly economically.” Putin made his first trip to Egypt in a decade last February.
The statement from Sisi’s office was related by Middle East Eye, which notes Sisi’s previous visit to Russia resulted in a $3.5 billion arms deal, Moscow’s assistance with Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, agreements to import Russian natural gas, and the establishment of a free trade zone in eastern Egypt.
Sisi is scheduled to meet with several senior Russian officials and corporate chiefs during his trip and will encourage the latter to make more investments in Egypt. This is likely to facilitate increased trade between the two countries, which has already grown a remarkable 103 percent over the past six months.
Egyptians aren’t shy about discussing their anger over the suspension of U.S. military aid after Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. Russia was quick to step in, the job made easier by, what an op-ed quoted by Middle East Eye describes as, their common military background and appreciation for an “uncompromising, strongman style of governance.”
As News24 observes, the rift between Washington and Cairo healed a bit recently, as the Egyptians found themselves dealing with an ISIS insurgency, but “Washington remains critical of Egypt’s human rights record.”