Russian ministers in Egypt discuss Libya and Syria conflicts

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Cairo - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry discussed the conflicts in Libya and Syria as they met in Cairo on Monday, the foreign ministry there said.

Lavrov and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu were also due to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egypt's defence minister, the foreign ministry in Moscow said.

Lavrov and Shoukry discussed Libya, where rival administrations and militias have fought for control of the oil-rich country since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gaddafi, the Egyptian statement said.

The meeting comes just days after Egypt carried out air strikes on jihadist training camps in eastern Libya in reprisal for shooting dead 29 Christians in central Egypt. The Islamic State group later claimed the attack.

Forces loyal to east Libya military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who took part in the strikes, said late Friday's raids hit a pro-Al-Qaeda group in the Libyan city of Derna after the attack on Copts in Egypt earlier in the day.

On Monday, Shoukry also praised "Russia's role in the success of the Astana process", the talks in Kazakhstan trying to bring about peace in Syria, and said he hoped it would lead to "a total ceasefire and reinforce political negotiations", the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Damascus allies Russia and Iran as well as rebel supporter Turkey signed a landmark deal to create four "de-escalation" zones across some of Syria's bloodiest battlegrounds.

Lavrov also met Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit, with both men stressing the importance of "working seriously to find political solutions to the crises and armed conflicts in the Arab world", the 22-member bloc said in a statement.

The Russian ministers' visit to Cairo had been planned for weeks as part of regular meetings between the allied countries.

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