The Russian government approved a draft agreement on Thursday which would create a partnership with Egypt allowing each country to use the other’s airspace and airbases. A final agreement is yet to be negotiated with Cairo.
The news comes following Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Cairo on Wednesday. Shoigu chaired a delegation of high-ranking officials and chief executives of major companies of the defence industry, according to the Russian News Agency.
The draft, which was prepared by Russia’s Defence Ministry and agreed to by its foreign ministry, has been approved by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On Thursday, the Russian government published the draft agreement, which was set out in a decree signed by the Prime Minister on 28 November. The approval was published through the Russian governmental legal paperwork portal.
The decree said the draft had been preliminarily worked through with the Egyptian side. It gives orders to the Russian Ministry of Defence to hold negotiations with Egyptian officials and to sign the document once both sides reach an agreement.
According to the draft agreement, Russian and Egyptian war planes would be able to use each other’s airspace and airfields by giving five days advance notice, which is expected to be valid for five years and could be extended.
Russia was reportedly accused by US officials in March of trying to expand its military presence in the Middle East. They said that Russia deployed special forces in Egypt near the border with Libya. The subject was discussed in the US Senate Armed Services Committee, but Moscow denied the allegations.
US aerial reconnaissance, responsible for collection of imagery intelligence, observation of enemy manoeuvrers, and artillery spotting, has voiced concerns that Russia is showing growing signs of attempts to interfere in Libya, according to the CNN.