World Bulletin/News Desk
The defense and foreign ministers of both Egypt and Russia are slated to hold talks on Thursday as part of a visit by a high-profile Russian delegation to Cairo, set to kick off on Wednesday.
The four-way meeting will be preceded by bilateral talks between the foreign and defense ministers of both countries, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
According to the spokesman, Thursday's meeting between Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov is expected to tackle means of boosting bilateral cooperation, the crisis in Syria, and ongoing efforts to convene an international conference devoted to freeing the Middle East region of weapons of mass destruction.
Talks between Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his Russian opposite, Sergei Shoigu, meanwhile, are expected to tackle a number of security- and military-related issues, Abdel-Ati added.
The meetings will be followed by talks between all four ministers and Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour before the four ministers go on to hold their own meeting, he said.
In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry explained that the four-way meeting would touch on bilateral cooperation and pressing regional issues.
Egypt and Russia hope to boost cooperation in a number of fields, including the security and military spheres, Abdel-Ati said.
The Russian delegation will also include Andrei Boitsov, first deputy director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, along with officials from Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
An Egyptian military official had earlier said that the Egyptian army hoped to diversify the source of its arms purchases.
He said that Russia was being mulled as a possible new source of advanced weaponry in light of Washington's recent decision to freeze some annual military assistance to Egypt.
Last month, the US decided to withhold the delivery of fighter jets, helicopters and rockets – along with $260 million worth of financial aid – to Egypt's military-backed government until Cairo took tangible steps towards inclusive democracy.
Washington has given Cairo $1.55 billion, including $1.3 billion in military aid, every year since 1979 as part of Egypt's Camp David peace arrangement with Israel.
According to a Rosoboronexport executive, Russia's state-run arms exporter is preparing to hold talks with Egypt about possible weapons sales.
"We are ready to negotiate with Egypt the possibility of delivering new weaponry, as well as the repair of Soviet-era equipment," he told Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
Last Mod: 12 Kasım 2013, 15:42