The head of state industrial holding company Rostec said on Monday that Russia is to provide Egypt with air defence missile systems. Sergei Chemezov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that Russia and Egypt are on the verge of signing an air defence systems deal. He did not elaborate on the type of missiles involved.
The announcement came in the wake of a visit by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu to Cairo last week. Chemezov said that Russia and Egypt are also discussing the inclusion of helicopters in the deal. The repair and renovation of Egypt's aging Russian weapons and equipment may also figure in the agreement.
Business daily Vedomosti reported that the deal is worth "more than $2 billion". Although the Egyptians are discussing this with their "partners", said Chemezov, they may ask Russia for a loan to cover the cost.
The United States grants Egypt military aid worth billions of dollars annually under the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty to ensure that its terms are followed, Israeli ships have safe passage through the Suez Canal and Egypt's cooperation in the "war on terror" led by Washington is maintained.
Following months of hesitation after the July coup, in October the United States froze its latest military aid delivery to Egypt, including attack helicopters and missiles.