Egypt’s Al-Sisi meets Russia’s Lavrov, stresses importance of diplomatic solutions in Ukraine crisis

Sami Hegazi
7 Min Read

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received on Sunday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the presidential palace in Cairo.

During their meeting, Al-Sisi stressed the importance of prioritising dialogue and diplomatic solutions to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, stressing Egypt’s support for all endeavors that would speed up the settlement of the conflict politically, in a way that maintains international security and stability.

Al-Sisi expressed Egypt’s readiness to support this path through its international contacts and movements, whether in a bilateral or multilateral framework.

The meeting was attended by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, and Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Foreign Minister.

Lavrov briefed President Al-Sisi on the latest developments in the Ukrainian crisis and the latest Russian moves in this regard at the international level.

He also conveyed a message to Al-Sisi from Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he expresses appreciation for the Egyptian-Russian relations.

The message also discussed some topics of mutual concern, the importance that Russia attaches to consolidating bilateral relations with Egypt within the framework of the partnership and strategic cooperation agreement between Egypt and Russia through joint development projects currently being implemented.

Russia expressed appreciation for Egypt’s initiative to form a ministerial liaison committee within the Arab League in an effort to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, which visited the Russian capital Moscow.

President Al-Sisi praised the bilateral cooperation with Russia in economic projects, especially the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant and the Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal economic zone and other investment projects.

Later on Sunday, at a press conference with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reiterated the need to hold talks between Russia and Ukraine to reach a political settlement to the crisis, which affected Egypt in terms of food security, energy, and inflation.

“The relations between Egypt and Russia are historical and friendly, and are complex in many fields,” Shoukry said. “The relations between the two countries are based on cooperation and mutual interests, and the interest of both peoples is always the basis of relations.”

The Palestinian issue, the importance of the two-State solution, and the continuation of joint action to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people through the establishment of their independent state was also addressed in the meeting.

They also discussed the situations in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, and the need to stop tension in the Arab region.

For his part, Lavrov expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation between Egypt and Russia, noting that relations between Cairo and Moscow are progressing significantly, and that there is agreement on a number of regional and international issues.

He pointed out that there is a constructive development in relations between Egypt and Russia, and that the trade exchange between the two countries has increased to about $4bn.

Minister Lavrov pointed out that the joint committee between Cairo and Moscow, which will be held in Cairo soon, was well prepared to take all measures to increase economic and trade relations between Egypt and Russia in all fields.

The Russian Foreign Minister noted to the end of the first phase of the project to construct the Dabaa nuclear plant, saying that dialogue is taking place with Cairo in a constructive manner in economic and industrial cooperation and that there is a big deal to supply railway cars to Egypt in cooperation with Hungary.

He pointed out that the sanctions imposed on Russia hindered the development of its relations with African countries, stressing that an agreement was signed to export grain in Istanbul to remove all obstacles in the way of Russian tankers to the world.

Lavrov said that the food crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic are mistakes committed by the West, pointing out that his country does not ask for lifting sanctions because it is developing its economy, clarifying that the Western countries must abandon their practices that caused the food crisis.

He added that Western countries block Russian ships, and vice versa, explaining that his country supports the initiative of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which led to lifting the siege on Ukrainian ports. The following step should be lifting sanctions on Russian wheat imposed by Western countries.

He stressed that his country has been calling for two months to allow a safe passage for ships from the Black Sea to the Bosphorus Strait, provided that the Ukrainian side removes the mines planted in the area.

Lavrov pointed out that it is necessary to ensure that no weapons enter the Ukrainian side during the process of food export.

“There is no way to resume negotiations between Moscow and Kiev in a broad way,” Lavrov stressed, clarifying that there will be no negotiations before Ukraine convinces us that no Western countries will be involved. “Russia is aware of the horizon of this crisis and when it will end,” he added.

“I would not be able to comment on the US concern about increasing cooperation between Russia and African countries,” he continued, stressing that the relations between the two sides are historical, and extend for years, and Russia has helped a number of African countries to gain their independence.

He stressed the need to end the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East and to work for a solution to the Palestinian issue through Egyptian mediation, stressing the need to a two-state solution and the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

The Russian Foreign Minister highlighted the need for the UN to support the settlement of the situation in Libya, noting the importance of supporting the UN mission in Libya, and that these efforts take place before the international umbrella and all parties must be invited to participate in the solution.

Regarding Syria, Minister Lavrov stressed the importance of respecting the Syrian people’s right to self-determination and the state’s sovereignty.

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