FILE-State Minister for Military Production Mohamed Saeed al-Assar
CAIRO – 25 January 2018: On Thursday,Minister of State for Military Production Mohammed Saeed al-Assar met the Russian Ambassador to Egypt Sergei Kiribchenko and an accompanying Russian delegation to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between Egyptian and Russian military manufacturing.
During the meeting, Assar stressed that the Ministry of Military Production works on developing the technological, technical, humanitarian and research potentials of military production companies in Egypt by exchanging expertise with friendly countries and making use of their advanced technologies.
He called for further cooperation between Egyptian and Russian military production companies to improve military manufacturing in Egypt.
Russian Ambassador Kiribchenko also stressed that he seeks to enhance cooperation with Egypt in different industrial fields by forming new partnerships between Russian companies and Egyptian production companies, particularly tomanufacturerailroad cars.
He praised the capabilities of Egyptian military companies and their encouragement of Russian companies to cooperate and exchange expertise with them, adding that they will play an effective role in developing manufacturing in both states.
Egyptian-Russian military cooperation
Russian and Egyptian military cooperation has increased in recent years since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power in 2014 as they signeda $3.5 billion arms deal in 2014, which included Egypt’s purchase of Mig-29 fighters, air and coastal defense systems, Mi-35 attack helicopters and smaller arms.
In addition, Egypt received three Ka-52 attack helicopters, known as Black Sharks, in 2017 which were part of a 46 “Black Shark” helicopters deal signed in 2015.
Stepping up military and technical ties with Russia aims to bolster the Egyptian Armed Forces’ capabilities in its war against terrorism; particularly to combat the terrorism funded by outside countries such as Qatar and Turkey that aims to destabilize Egypt and incite internal chaos.
On November 29, 2017, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Egypt in order to create a military rapprochement between Cairo and Moscow.
Shoigu signed a draft deal during his visit on November 30, which allows the two states to use the other's military facilities and air space for a period of five years.
The agreement was expected to include joint training sessions between the two states to prime Egyptian pilots to fly Russian planes. Russia and Egypt would also be able to carry out bilateral anti-terrorism measures in Sinai, the area in which the uprising of the Islamic State (IS)in Egypt is centered.
Shoigu stated that the improving relations between Russia and Egypt will be accompanied by increasing bilateral contracts for Russian defense enterprises.
The military agreements come after many terrorist attacks were conducted against Egypt, including the massacre conducted on November 24 against worshipers at Al-Rawdah mosque near Bi’r Al-Abd city in North Sinai, which killed at least 311 people and injured 121.
During a joint press conference between Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2017 while Putin was visiting Egypt, Putin referred to the fact that Russia and Egypt agreed on extending military cooperation to increase the Egyptian armed forces’ ability to eradicate terrorism, hinting at the role of the Russian Air force in the fight against terrorism.
“I revealed to President Sisi the results of my visit to Syria today. Thanks to the Russian air force, all of the Syrian territories have been liberated from terrorists, and I believe that the objectives for which the Russian army intervened have been achieved,” Putin stated.
Furthermore, to fight terrorism in Egypt, joint exercises known as “Protectors of Friendship 2” were carried out from September 9 to 22 by Egyptian paratroopers and Russian air-landing forces in the Russian city of Novorossiysk. These exercises aimed to exchange expertise and train Egyptian paratroopers on the best techniques to eradicate terrorism.
On the other hand, Egyptian-Russian relations developed in various other aspects. Politically, there has been congruence upon many regional matters. These include fighting terrorism in the MENA region, political solutions for the Syrian conflict, preserving the nation-state in the region’s countries, increasing the de-confliction areas, and supporting the two-state solution with Eastern Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine.
As for economic cooperation, the minister of industry and trade declared in December that Egyptian exports to Russia markedly increased during the first nine months of 2017, scoring a 28.5-percent rise amounting to $421 million in value in comparison to the $327.5 million in the same period of the previous year. Direct Russian flights to Cairo are also resuming in February 2018.
Putin and Sisi witnessed the signing of the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant contracts between the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Russian nuclear firm Rosatom. The contracts cover the design and construction of the plant, supplying nuclear fuel, consulting services for operation and maintenance, and fuel recycling.