Warmer days ahead? Egypt-Russian agreements signal strengthening of economic ties

Published February 3rd, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
Al-Sisi met with Russia's minister of industry and trade to discuss strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. (AFP/File)
Al-Sisi met with Russia's minister of industry and trade to discuss strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. (AFP/File)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov Monday following the 10th session of the Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic and scientific cooperation.

Sisi discussed with Manturov aspects of strengthening economic cooperation between both states through increasing Russian investments in Egypt, establishing joint projects and developing factories established in the 1950s-60s, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

The commission, which is co-chaired by the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil and his counterpart Manturov, signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on establishing a Russian industrial zone in the context of the Suez Canal development project in Egypt.

The ministers held a press conference Tuesday, where a number of signed agreements between Russian and Egyptian companies were announced. These included an agreement to establish a factory for construction materials and another one for the manufacture of air conditioners.

On the sidelines of the press conference, Kabil stated that an agreement was made to develop investment cooperation with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the joint Russian-Egyptian-UAE Fund with the aim of funding Russian projects in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Kabil denied the existence of studies to establish an Italian industrial zone similar to the Russian zone, pointing out that talks with the Italian delegation focused on a number of industrial projects and exploring investment venues in the Egyptian market.  

The Egyptian Minister of Investment Ashraf Soliman met with the Italian Minster of Economic Development Federica Guidi in December, where prospects of economic cooperation between both states were discussed.

Sisi welcomed the outcomes of Tuesday's session, and expressed his appreciation of the "notable development" in Egyptian-Russian bilateral relations, reflecting a keen interest by both states to enhance cooperation in various fields.

Previously in May, several agreements were signed in the fields of exports, furniture and automobiles, among others when a Russian delegation headed by Manturov visited Egypt. Preliminary agreements were reached then on selling 12 SSJ-100 jets to Egypt by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, according to Russian News Agency TASS.

In November, Egypt signed a cooperation agreement with Russia's state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom.

The nuclear power plant deal with Russia came just days after the Kremlin's unilateral announcement that the Russian charter flight which blew up over Sinai late October was downed by an act of terrorism.

Since the crash, Egypt has made no conclusive statements on the results of the Egypt-led international investigation, agreeing only that the jet broke up midair after abruptly disappearing from the radar 23 minutes from takeoff.

Following the incident, Russia has taken several measures to respond to the crash that led to the death of 224 passengers on board, ranging from evacuating its citizens from Egypt to suspending flights.

 


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