How has Russian media covered Lavrov's visit to Cairo?



Wed, 31 May 2017 - 12:00 GMT


Wed, 31 May 2017 - 12:00 GMT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Creative Commons via Wikimedia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Creative Commons via Wikimedia

CAIRO – 31 May 2017: Following talks in Cairo on Monday, Russian media has focused on the meetings held between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and their Egyptian counterparts Sameh Shoukry and Sedki Sohbi.

The meetings were held in the so-called “2+2” format; a form of diplomatic dialogue between the foreign and defense representatives which Russia uses with only six countries, with Egypt as the only Arab partner.

Russian media reports have focused on the main topics tackled by the two countries’ officials, most notably the crises in Syria, Libya and bilateral military-technical cooperation.

Russian media agency Sputnik pointed out that Egyptian-Russian relations have been experiencing a “renaissance” over recent years, particularly after “the Americans threatened to freeze all arms shipments to the Egyptians if they didn’t return the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to power.”

Russian political scientist Gevorg Mirzayan told Sputnik that the unreliable relations between the U.S. and Egypt forced the latter to start looking for a new partner and appears to have turned to Russia for support.

Russian media reported that the agenda of talks was extremely broad and addressed nearly all Middle Eastern issues. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry: “It [the agenda] included the joint fight against terrorism, the settlement of the Syrian crisis, the Arab-Israeli settlement, the situation in Libya, Yemen, Iraq and the prospect of creating a zone in the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction."

Russian newspaper Izvestia also picked up on the visit, emphasizing that it came immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump’s historical visit to Saudi Arabia where the Arab-Islamic-American summit was held with the attendance of most Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Russia’s main regional partner.

The summit spoke of cooperation between the Muslim world and the U.S. in order to halt terrorism and extremism across the world.

The Russian news agency TASS noted that anti-terrorism and airline security overshadowed the Russian-Egyptian talks in Cairo. Lavrov welcomed efforts made by Egypt to achieve reconciliation in Libya, expressing his support to the country’s fight against terrorist groups.

Lavrov proposed the formation of a global counter-terrorism front, pointing out that Libya has become a stronghold for foreign militants, weapons and drugs smugglers as well as human trafficking, and stressing the need for more cooperation with relevant parties to settle the Libya crisis.

TASS also reported that the Russian and Egyptian foreign ministers discussed the development of bilateral negations to resume air service between the countries as soon as possible.

Moscow suspended air service with Egypt in November 2015 after the crash of a Russian A321 jet that was en route from Sharm el-Sheikh to Russia’s St. Petersburg, killing 224 people. Russia has requested significant upgrades in security measures as well as allowing Russian experts to be present in all Egyptian airports as a condition for restoring flights.

The Egyptian side is yet to approve the Russian request, justifying its position that the constant presence of foreign security services violates the country’s sovereignty.
At the end of the visit, Lavrov invited Egyptian officials to continue talks in the “2+2” format involving the ministers of foreign affairs and defense in the Russian capital Moscow in the future.



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