El Sisi holds talks with Zelensky
El Sisi calls for diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine in call with Zelensky: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received a phone call from his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, according to an Ittihadiya statement, marking the first time the two leaders have spoken since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. El Sisi stressed the importance of diplomacy and dialogue to solve the crisis, according to the statement, adding that Egypt is following with concern “the deterioration in the humanitarian situation” in Ukraine. “We agreed on the need to restore peace” in Ukraine, Zelensky wrote on Twitter following the conversation, adding that he thanked El Sisi for help provided to Ukrainians.
Shoukry was also in talks: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also discussed ways to achieve a lasting peace with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a call on Thursday, according to a statement.
Egypt is walking a delicate line on the war. Russia and Ukraine are both important strategic partners, together providing some 80% of our wheat imports and around a third of our inbound tourism market. Russia is building a nuclear power plant and an industrial zone here, Ukraine is involved in our national railway upgrade, and both countries are longstanding defense partners.
Two weeks since El Sisi-Putin talks: The call came two weeks after El Sisi offered to help mediate an end to the conflict during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
El Sisi wasn’t the only Arab leader Zelensky reached out to this weekend: The Ukrainian leader joined the Doha Forum on Saturday and urged Qatar and other gas exporters to increase shipments to Europe and help it reduce its reliance on Russian energy, Bloomberg reported.
Europe is getting more gas from the US: The US will ship 50 bn cubic meters of LNG to Europe each year until at least 2030 under an agreement signed during President Biden’s visit to Europe last week. The supplies will cover about a third of the gas the EU receives from Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Reminder: European nations are soon going to have to cough up some RUB if they want to keep importing Russian gas. Putin last week gave his government a week to put into place a mechanism for accepting RUBs rather than EUR or USD as payment for gas, which would mean Europe not only propping up the currency but helping Russian banks to skirt sanctions.
Biden seems to have inadvertently called for the overthrow of Putin, breaking with official US policy which has avoided publicly calling for regime change in Moscow. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” the US president said in an unscripted remark at the end of an address in Poland yesterday. Cue clarifications from the White House press team.
EGYPTIANS IN UKRAINE-
An Egyptian citizen has died in Mariupol: Yehia Hassan Yehia Hamed was killed in the attacks on the city of Mariupol, which has seen some of the worst shelling and airstrikes since the onset of the war, according to a statement by the Egyptian community in Ukraine.