President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi arrived in Moscow on Tuesday for the start of his three day state visit to Russia. The latest visit to Russia is Al-Sisi’s fourth since his rise to power in 2013, and his third as president.
Al-Sisi will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of state officials, including Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin, Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, and Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev.
However, Al-Sisi’s first meeting in Moscow was with the UAE’s crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who is on a business visit to Moscow, according to the presidency statement.
Al-Nahyan and Al-Sisi discussed enhancing bilateral relations and the spread of terrorism in the Arab region, among other topics, according to the presidency.
During Al-Sisi’s last visit to Russia, he discussed with Putin the establishment of a free trade zone between Egypt and the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU), as well as the development of mutual trade and agricultural business.
Head of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s office for the Egypt-EU Partnership Agreement and former ambassador to Moscow, Raouf Mosaad, previously told Daily News Egypt that the Al-Sisi-Putin meeting was agreed upon during the inauguration of the New Suez Canal. This was finalised when the Egyptian president met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Mosaad added that he believes that economic agreements regarding Suez Canal Axis Development project investment and discussions on the situation in Syria will top the agenda of the talks between the two leaders.
“Speeding up a Russian decision to start investments in the Suez Canal Axis will be on the table of the discussion,” said the diplomat.
In terms of politics, the two leaders’ meeting is expected to tackle the Syrian crisis and its viable solutions. The two countries share a similar stance on the power struggle in Syria that does not favour a “fall of the regime” in the civil-war-plagued country.
The energy file is also expected to be a main topic in Al-Sisi’s meeting, with Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker part of the delegation accompanying the president. There are expectations that an agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Daba’a is to be reached as part of the visit, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.