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Putin, Egyptian Leader Sign 'Strategic' Partnership Treaty


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi shake hands after a signing ceremony following their talks in Sochi on October 17.

Meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Russian and Egyptian presidents have signed what officials describes as a strategic cooperation treaty designed to increase trade, military, and other ties between the two nations.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was completing a three-day visit to Russia, hailed his talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin on October 17 and the cooperation agreement as opening a "new chapter in the history” of the countries’ bilateral relations.

Full details of the deal were not immediately revealed.

Putin said the talks encompassed "the whole spectrum of bilateral relations as well as key international and regional problems."

He added that he and Sisi discussed expanding arms trade and military ties, pointing out that Russian and Egyptian paratroopers were conducting military maneuvers in Egypt.

Sisi was on his fourth trip to Russia since taking office in 2014, and Putin visited Egypt in 2015 and 2017.

Cairo has signed multibillion-dollar deals to purchase military weapons, including warplanes and helicopters, from Russia.

During Putin’s last visit to the Egyptian capital in December, officials signed a deal for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa.

In Sochi, Putin and Sisi discussed implementation of the nuclear plant contract and considered the possibility of establishing a Russian industrial park along the Suez Canal.

The two leaders also discussed resuming direct flights from Russia to Egyptian resorts.

Russia suspended direct air travel to the Middle Eastern country in November 2015 after a bomb planted by an Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group brought a Russian passenger plane down over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

Flights between Moscow and Cairo resumed in April after Egyptian officials fortified their capital's airport security, but talks about restoring direct flights from Russian cities to Egypt's Red Sea resorts have not produced an agreement.

Putin said after the talks in Sochi that he and Sisi discussed the issue and that Egyptian officials have done "everything necessary to enhance flight security."

"We will try to resume charter flights along those routes in the nearest time," he said.

Addressing the Russian parliament's upper house in Moscow on October 16, Sisi emphasized that restoring the flights was essential for Egypt's tourism industry.

Trade between Russia and Egypt increased 62 percent last year, reaching $6.7 billion, and continued to expand at a swift pace this year, according to official Russian figures.

Russian grain exports currently account for about 70 percent of Egypt's needs.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and Interfax
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