Egyptian FM: Cairo seeking to expand relations with Moscow
Egypt is seeking to expand cooperation with Russia in the wake of a diplomatic fallout with long-time ally the United States following the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi in July, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Saturday.
During an interview with Agence France Presse, the foreign minister was speaking days ahead of a visit on Wednesday Russia's defence and foreign ministers to discuss arms sales and political relations.
Fahmi told an AFP reporter that strained relations with the United States - who suspended some of its massive military aid to Cairo after Morsi was toppled from power by the army and mass protests were held across the country - had somewhat improved after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the capital last Sunday.
But Egypt is taking a more "independent" tack and broadening its choices, he said, AFP reported.
"Independence is having choices. So the objective of this foreign policy is to provide Egypt with choices, more choices. So I'm not going to substitute. I'm going to add," he said.
"I see this as a beginning of a new phase," he added.
Fahmy told the press that Kerry's visit "left better sentiments here in Egypt". Kerry visited Cairo one day before Morsi went on trial for inciting the killings of protesters.
"It does not mean everything has been resolved. It does not mean there won't be hiccups in the relationship in the future," Fahmy said, speaking in his office on the banks of the Nile River.
Egypt had close ties with Russia until several years before president Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel in 1979, bringing in roughly $1.3 billion in yearly US military aid over the subsequent decades, according to AFP.