Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu arrived in Cairo yesterday for discussions about enhancing military cooperation with Egypt, RIA Novosti has reported. Shoygu was accompanied by senior military officials and has already met President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his Egyptian counterpart, Sedki Sobhi.
With issues of defence technology cooperation on the agenda, the meeting also addressed international and regional security matters.
“The amount of bilateral contacts is surging, a portfolio of orders from Russian defence enterprises is growing,” Shoygu told participants at the fourth session of the Russian-Egyptian commission for military technical cooperation. “As a result, the Egyptian Armed Forces are getting better equipped with cutting-edge hardware and weapons, while their military capabilities are on the rise.” The aim, he explained, is to strengthen the capabilities of the Egyptian Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism.
“We hope a breakthrough will be made in all spheres of military cooperation such as joint manufacturing and transfers of technology and weapons, joint military exercises, teaching and training,” the Russian minister added.
According to Egypt’s Sobhi, his country’s military and strategic tendency remains military cooperation. “This includes the acquirement of cutting-edge weapons and advanced technology, information and expertise exchanges and training of military personnel for the purpose of increasing our armed forces’ combat capabilities,” he pointed out.
Since Sisi took over in 2013, Egypt and Russia have had strong military relations. Several multibillion dollar deals have been signed, and there have been high-level visits to Moscow and Cairo, as well as joint military exercises.
In 2014, for example, Russia signed a $3.5 billion deal to supply Egypt with air defence systems, artillery and firearms. Moscow is also planning to hand over 46 Mikoyan MiG-29M aircraft by the end of this year.
Furthermore, Egypt is currently negotiating with Russia to buy the Kamov Ka-50 helicopter, which is designed to destroy tanks, armoured and non-armoured ground targets, as well as enemy troops and helicopters on the front line and in tactical reserve.