Sisi heads to Russia to cement Egypt ties

Sisi heads to Russia to cement Egypt ties

Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi headed to Russia accompanied by Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Wednesday to discuss bilateral cooperation, the army said, Alarabiya reported.

Field Marshal Sisi, who is also Egypt's defense minister and deputy prime minister, and Fahmy would hold "2+2" talks with their Russian counterparts, Colonel Ahmed Aly, the army spokesperson said in a statement.

The talks would focus on "bilateral relations and aspects of cooperation between the two countries," the statement read.

The two men left Cairo on Wednesday for a visit that is due to last two days, Badr Abdelatty, Egypt foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

The trip comes "in response to the historic visit of the Russian defence and foreign ministers to Cairo" last November, the army statement added.

Last November, Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Cairo for two days to discuss weapons sales as well as political and economic ties.

That visit came amid tension between Egypt and its longtime ally the United States, which has suspended some of its military aid to Cairo after Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi on July 3rd.

Egypt had close ties with Russia before then president Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel in 1979, bringing in roughly $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid over the subsequent decades.

Since Mursi's ouster, Egypt's military backed government has been waging a deadly crackdown on his supporters that has left more than 1,400 people dead according to Amnesty international and thousands others jailed.

Sisi, who is hugely popular since the ouster of Mursi, is expected to stand in upcoming presidential elections, which he is likely to win by a landslide.

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