Russia’s Foreign and Defence Ministers are heading to Cairo on Wednesday for the first ever two-plus-two meeting with their Egyptian counterparts as Moscow cashes in on its Syria triumph.
Ahead of the visit the Varyag missile cruiser, flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, docked on Monday at the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, becoming the first Russian warship to visit Egypt in the past two decades.
During their joint visit on November 13-14 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will discuss “the full spectrum” of Russia-Egypt ties, including “military-technical cooperation,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The visit comes as Cairo’s ties with Washington soured following the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, with the U.S. freezing some of its military aid to Egypt. By contrast, Russia’s standing in the region has received a major boost after Moscow averted a U.S. military strike against Syria brokering a deal to relieve Damascus of its stocks of chemical weapons and strengthening its reputation as a country that does not dump its allies.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy told Russia’s RT television on Tuesday that his country “is considering buying Russian weapons”.
Experts said Russia could supply weapons worth billions of dollars for the Egyptian Army.
“A $4-billion arms package that is being discussed could put Russia ahead of the U.S. as Egypt’s top defence supplier,” said military commentator Ilya Kramnik.
He said Egypt would be keen to buy Russian-made air defence systems, helicopter gunships, fighter jets and warships.