The Russian government has published its draft agreement with Egypt that allows their respective air forces to use each other’s airspace and bases. The government decree was issued on the official website for Russian legal information and dated 28 November. It contained an order for the Russian Defence Ministry to conduct negotiations with Egyptian officials and sign the document once the parties reach an agreement.
According to the Russian news agency, TASS, the agreement will be in effect for five years and does not include aircraft used for early warnings and those carrying dangerous cargo.
Relations between Egypt and Russia seem to be good under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, despite Moscow’s decision to stop flights to the North African state after a Russian passenger aircraft was shot down over the Sinai Peninsula in November 2015. There has been a noticeable unity on positions regarding the crises in the region, especially in Syria and Libya.
A few months ago, media reports quoted American officials and Egyptian security sources saying that Russia deployed Special Forces and drones at an air base in Sidi Barrani, 100 kilometres from Egypt’s border with Libya. This suggested the possibility of Egypt intervening in Libya to support Khalifa Haftar against the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord. However, Cairo and Moscow denied the veracity of these reports.
Military cooperation between Egypt and Russia takes many forms. Last September, the Egyptian army conducted joint exercises with Russian troops in the city of Novorisk, in south west Russia.