Russia negotiates deal for its warplanes to use Egypt bases

accreditation
iStock
iStock

Moscow - Russia has approved a draft agreement with Egypt for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases, according to a document released on Thursday, a deal that would allow Moscow to further increase its military footprint in the Mideast.

The directive, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the official portal of legal information, endorses the draft prepared by the Russian Defense Ministry and instructs it to sign the deal with Egypt when it's ready.

The Russia-Egypt deal, which would allow each country's warplanes to use air bases of the other, is to last five years and could be extended further if agreed.

For Egypt, the deal is significant as President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's government has expanded military ties with Russia and signed deals to buy Russian fighter jets, helicopters and other weapons.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Cairo on Wednesday, noting that military cooperation between the two countries has increased recently as Egypt placed new orders for Russian weapons.

"We are pleased to note stable positive dynamics in the military-technical sphere," Shoigu was quoted as saying during meeting of an inter-government commission on military-technical cooperation.

He also offered condolences for the massacre at a village mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last week that killed 305 people during Friday prayers - the deadliest attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt's modern history.

Shoigu emphasised the need to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism.

"We believe that it's necessary to fight this evil together using all accessible means," he said.

The local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group has not formally claimed responsibility for the mosque attack, though the gunmen that mowed down the worshippers carried the black banner of the militant group. The ISIS affiliate has claimed responsibility for the October 2015 downing over Sinai of a Russian passenger jet that killed all 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists.

ISIS said it blew up the plane with a bomb smuggled on board, a claim confirmed by Russian investigators. The bombing prompted Russia to cut commercial flights with Egypt, a heavy blow that decimated the country's vital tourism industry.

Moscow and Cairo have held talks on boosting airport security and resuming the air link, but no agreement has been reached so far.

Egypt was Moscow's closest Arab ally in the 1950s and 1960s, when nationalist leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser turned away from the United States and secured Soviet backing. Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, broke ties with Moscow and evicted Soviet military advisers.

Under al-Sisi, who developed friendly ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Egypt has expanded economic ties with Russia and shown a renewed interest in Russian arms.

Russia has raised its profile in the Middle East region with a military campaign in Syria that has turned the course of war in Syrian President Bashar Assad's favor. Russia has an air base and a navy supply facility in Syria, which it plans to expand.

Al-Sisi has struggled to subdue the Islamic insurgency in Sinai. On Wednesday, he gave his security forces a three-month deadline to restore "security and stability" in the troubled northern part of the peninsula and authorised his new chief of staff to use "all brute force" against the militants.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
38% - 1763 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
12% - 566 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
49% - 2279 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.04
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
20.67
-1.3%
Rand - Euro
17.44
-1.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.30
-1.7%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-1.8%
Gold
1,797.17
+0.2%
Silver
24.08
-0.3%
Palladium
1,961.53
-2.4%
Platinum
1,013.50
-1.8%
Brent Crude
86.40
+0.5%
Top 40
60,874
-0.3%
All Share
67,475
-0.2%
Resource 10
63,082
-0.9%
Industrial 25
87,253
+0.1%
Financial 15
14,054
+0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE