Putin set to meet Egypt's Sisi

2015-08-26 15:01
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (File: AFP)

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Moscow (dpa) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, on Wednesday in Moscow as Russia ramps up its efforts to serve as a leading mediator in Middle Eastern conflicts.

The leaders are expected to focus on "the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa", the Kremlin said.

Sisi is also expected to sign a deal for the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom to build Egypt's first nuclear power plant, Russian state media reported.

Moscow has hosted a number of Middle Eastern leaders in recent weeks as it seeks a greater role in mediating in the Middle East, especially concerning the Syrian civil war and efforts to combat Islamic State militants, which have taken considerable territory in war-torn Syria and Iraq over the past year.

Putin's popularity rose internationally in late 2013 when Russia negotiated a deal to dispose of the Syrian military's chemical weapons after allegations that they were being used on civilians.

Biggest allies

But months later, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region, critically damaging Putin's reputation on the world stage.

Now Russia is renewing its drive to be a mediator in the Middle East, particularly to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has ruled Syria for 15 years and is one of Russia's biggest allies in the region.

Jordan's King Abdullah II told Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, "We have to find a solution in Syria. Your role and the role of your country in uniting all the opposing sides at the negotiation table for a peaceful solution are critical", according to a statement released by the Kremlin.

Putin on Tuesday also discussed the Syrian conflict with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, state media reported.

This month, the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran told reporters in Moscow that al-Assad should remain in power even if there is a transition period to allow members of the political opposition into Syria's leadership.

Those comments came in stark contrast to a statement by the Saudi foreign minister after similar talks days earlier in Moscow in which he said he does "not see a place for Assad in Syria's future".

Syria's civil war has lasted four years and killed at least 250 000 people.

Read more on:    abdel fattah al-sisi  |  vladimir putin  |  russia  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  middle east

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