Russian ministers make landmark Cairo visit

14th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Russia's foreign and defence ministers went into talks with their Egyptian counterparts Thursday, an Egyptian official said, on a landmark visit after a diplomatic spat between Cairo and Washington.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Cairo for the talks which Moscow has said could include discussions on the sale of Russian weapons to Egypt.

The talks were the first at such a high level between the two countries "in the history of our friendly relations," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said last week.

Lukashevich said the discussions would touch on "military and technical cooperation" -- a Russian euphemism for arms sales -- as well as political and economic ties.

Egypt had close ties with Russia until several years before president Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel in 1979, bringing in roughly $1.3 billion in yearly US military aid over the subsequent decades.

Diplomatic ties between Egypt and the United States soured after Washington suspended some of its military aid to Cairo after the Egyptian army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Since then Egypt has taken a more "independent" tack and broadening its foreign policy, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy told AFP in an interview on Saturday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to rekindle the relations between the two countries during a visit to Cairo this month -- his first to the country since the ouster of Morsi.

"It does not mean everything has been resolved. It does not mean there won't be hiccups in the relationship in the future," Fahmy said after Kerry's visit.

© 2013 AFP

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