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Egyptian President Al-Sisi Meets with Russia’s Putin Prior Russia-Africa Summit

July 27, 2023
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a meeting on the sidelines of the second Russia-Africa summit. Courtesy of the Spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi arrived in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, 26 July, to participate in the second edition of the Russia-Africa summit, set to commence the following day, with the participation of 49 African nations. On the eve of the summit, Al-Sisi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss advancing bilateral relations across numerous avenues.

During their meeting, Putin hailed the “great progress achieved over the past years in the relations between the two countries” and expressed Russia’s eagerness to increase cooperation with Egypt, particularly in the promising energy sector.

The Russian president then emphasized the importance of continued bilateral collaboration between the two nations, stating that Egypt accounts for one-third of Russia’s trade exchange with Africa.

Al-Sisi congratulated his Russian counterpart on 80 years of Egyptian-Russian relations, and expressed his optimism for a fruitful Russia-Africa summit. He thanked Putin for constructing the Dabaa Nuclear Plant and the Russian Industrial Zone.

“We are always positive on all initiatives, including from your side, concerning bilateral cooperation and interaction on the African continent,” Al-Sisi added.

The two leaders emphasized the strong bonds between Egypt and Russia, expressing their commitment to bolstering cooperation while engaging in regular consultations on global and regional matters of mutual concern.

According to a series of statements by the Russian Ambassador to Egypt, Georgy Borisenko, on 25 July, the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2030.

Developed by the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, the four-reactor plant will have a capacity of 4,800 MW, making it the biggest nuclear plant built by the company outside of Russia.

Borisenko also reflected on the Russian Industrial Zone at the Suez Economic Zone, stating that it is expected to be open soon. “The industrial zone would enhance economic cooperation between Russia and Egypt, creating about 35,000 local jobs. Russia will invest over USD 7 billion (216, 612, 340,000 EGP equivalent) to establish the zone,” he added.

“Cairo will be an important member of BRICS, as it will represent the Arab and African community,” Borisenko stated, assuring that Russia supports Egypt’s bid to join the BRICS group of fast-developing economies.

The Russian ambassador to Egypt revealed that Russia has frequently communicated with Ethiopia, where Russian diplomats consistently encouraged Ethiopian officials to consider Egypt’s concerns about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The ambassador stressed that Russia understands the significance of the Nile waters to Egypt, and stands in solidarity with Egypt’s position on the matter.

President Putin met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed before meeting with Al-Sisi. During the meetings, several agreements covering various fields, including tech and energy, were discussed, and both presidents are expected to sign these agreements later on.

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