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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Putin and Sisi to hold talks in Cairo on Monday

Political, economic, energy and trade ties on the agenda for Russian and Egyptian presidents 

Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Cairo on December 11, 2017 comes soon after an agreement for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian airbases. Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Cairo on December 11, 2017 comes soon after an agreement for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian airbases. Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian president Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt on Monday to discuss expanding political, economic, energy and trade ties, officials said.

The Russian leader will hold talks with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi on issues related to stability and security in the Middle East and North Africa, the Kremlin said.

The Egyptian government said Mr Putin's visit reflected the shared commitment to "strengthening the historic and strategic relations" between Moscow and Cairo.

Mr Putin's visit follows the Russian government's announcement last week that Moscow and Cairo have drafted an agreement for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases.

The deal comes as part of Moscow's efforts to further expand its military foothold in the region following its campaign in Syria.

Under Mr El Sisi, Egypt has expanded military ties with Russia and signed a slew of deals to buy Russian weapons.

On a visit to Cairo last week, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu noted an increase in military cooperation between the two countries and emphasised the need to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism.

An ISIL affiliate based in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the October 2015 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed all 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists.

The bombing prompted Russia to cut commercial flights with Egypt, a heavy blow that decimated the country's vital tourism industry.

Moscow and Cairo have held talks on boosting airport security and resuming the air link, but no agreement has been reached so far.