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Russia snubs Morsi’s $2bn loan request

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Russian President Vladimir Putin also turns down appeal from Morsi for wheat supplies

A handout picture released by the Egyptian presidency shows Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) giving a press briefing on April 19, 2013 in Sochi, Russia. (AFP Photo)

A handout picture released by the Egyptian presidency shows Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) giving a press briefing on April 19, 2013 in Sochi, Russia.
(AFP Photo)

By Nada Badawi

No agreement has been reached on a $2bn loan from Russia following President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to the country, said Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Hatem Saleh on Friday.

Morsi had also requested wheat supplies in addition to financial aid; however, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned down his request.

“Today we have reached no conclusion on that loan,” said Saleh after a meeting between Morsi and Putin on Friday.

Morsi arrived in Russia last Thursday with a ministerial delegation, including Minister of Investment Ossama Saleh, Minister of Petroleum Ossama Kamal, Minister of Agriculture Salah Abdel Moemen, and Minister of Electricity and Energy Ahmed Imam.

Yuri Ushakov, assistant to the Russian leader, reported that Morsi had requested the $2bn loan when het met the Russian leader.

“We are not talking about a small amount here,” said Ushakov.

Russian officials have said that they will need to “study the decision” before commenting.

Russian news agency Novosti reported on Friday that Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak stated that Egypt had suggested collaborating with Moscow to construct a nuclear power plant.

Morsi emphasised the bilateral ties between Egypt and Russia, and acknowledged Russia’s contribution to Egypt’s agriculture, industries, and military.

“The issue isn’t only about an increase in trade exchange or number of tourists,” he said. “I am speaking of a true alliance in economic fields that will establish a true industrial renaissance to realise enormous developments in Egypt.”

Putin said that the two countries enjoy good relations, and that they “agreed to continue working together until we eventually diversify our economic, investment and trade activities”.

Morsi and his delegation planned to discuss oil and wheat during the trip to find possible solutions for Egypt’s plunging wheat stocks and fuel shortages.

Among other issues, the two leaders discussed the Syria crisis and called for a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

“Russia and Egypt support a ceasefire in Syria as soon as possible and the launch of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition,” Putin said.

Political and economic relations between Egypt and Russia began during the ruling of late President Gamal Abdel Nasser.


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