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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Expect ties with Russia to get a major shot in the arm this week

Expect ties with Russia to get a major shot in the arm this week: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi are heading to Moscow tomorrow for talks with their Russian counterparts. Security issues, including terrorism and the conflicts in Syria and Libya, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Security meetings will precede the the Egyptian-Russian Economic Committee summit, where there’s a strong chance we’ll see headway on the Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ). Russia’s Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov had said last month that he hopes the meeting will see the signing of the contracts for the RIZ, while Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil had said the zone would top the agenda for meetings.

Trade between Cairo and Moscow could reach USD 10 bn this year, up from USD 6 bn last year, Russia-Egyptian Business Council Chairman Mikhail Orlov said, according to TASS. Bilateral trade has the potential to reach USD 25 bn if the two countries simplify financing procedures, reach consensus on quality standards for agricultural products, and “remove administrative barriers in the pharmaceuticals sector,” according to Orlov. Egypt had imported around USD 1.73 bn worth of food products from Russia last year, outpacing China as the world’s largest importer of Russian food.

Meanwhile, Russia Today catches flak over Halayeb poll: Russia Today’s Arabic website published on Friday a public opinion poll asking readers whether they believe the Halayeb Triangle is Egyptian or Sudanese territory. The State Information Service (pdf) and Foreign Ministry each issued a statement lambasting the website for the “insulting” poll, and summoned RT’s correspondents in Egypt to school them on the harm the poll inflicted on Egypt-Russia relations, SIS head Diaa Rashwan told Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 6:14). The Foreign Ministry also relayed its dismay to the Russian authorities, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said (watch, runtime: 3:52).

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