CAIRO: Russia has asked Egypt to sign a protocol by which Russian warships may cross the Suez Canal and pass through Egyptian territorial waters, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev mandated the Russian Defense Ministry to speak with Egypt Ministry of Defense on the protocol.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu talked Tuesday with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo on bilateral cooperation and international efforts of counter-terrorism in the region and whole world.
“President Sisi commended the solid and historic ties between Egypt and Russia. He emphasized Egypt’s commitment to strengthening collaboration in all areas including military cooperation, which enhances the two countries capabilities to address various challenges,” stated Egyptian Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef Tuesday.
TASS Russian News Agency reported Wednesday that Shoigu said his country sees Egypt a “reliable partner in the Arab world,” quoted as saying “”the task of our coordinated action to rebuff a terrorist threat, including cooperation in ensuring the safety of civil flights, becomes particularly topical.”
The agency also reported that Egypt has asked to purchase Russian “wide range of armament and combat hardware,” according to remarks from the Russian Defense Minister deputy Anatoly Antonov who affirmed that his country will answer the Egyptian request in the coming few weeks.
Despite the incident of Russian passenger plane crashed in Central Sinai on Oct. 31, the relations between both countries did not strain. However, the incident dramatically affected the Egyptian tourism sector as Russia, since then, evacuated around 90,000 Russian nationals from Egypt.
Russia’ request of the Suez Canal came after targeting a Russian Su-24M tactical bomber by Turkish fighter jet in Syria, according to remarks of Russian Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the general Staff Sergei Rudskoy Wednesday.
Russia announced that it will send S-400 air defense system to its base in Syria’s Latakia city, Reuters reported Wednesday. Combating militant Islamic State group, Russia has carried out air raids on the group’s hotbeds in Syria since October.
Additional reporting by Mo’men Mokhtar.