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Sisi to pay state visit to Russia: sources - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (R) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt on August 3, 2014. (AFP Photo/Egyptian Presidency Handout)

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (R) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt on August 3, 2014. (AFP Photo/Egyptian Presidency Handout)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Preparations are currently underway for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to pay a state visit to Moscow in the near future, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Monday.

Sources in Egypt with knowledge of the preparation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the visit was expected to take place this month, though the exact date had not yet been set due to the busy schedules of both President Sisi and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The sources added that the visit was an opportunity to sign a number of strategic and economic cooperation agreements between Moscow and Cairo, and was intended to bolster the relationship between the two states.

If confirmed, the visit will follow shortly after an official visit to Egypt by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who held talks with Sisi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri on Saturday and Sunday.

Before his departure from Cairo, the Chinese foreign minister reiterated his country’s interest in developing joint relations with Egypt, and expressed his surprise that the volume of Chinese investments in Egypt did not exceed 500 million US dollars, despite what he said was the historic friendship between the two countries.

These moves coincide with the current visit by Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to Washington DC at the head of a ministerial delegation to participate in the US–Africa summit.

Sisi’s absence from the summit, together with the growing diplomatic activity between Egypt, China, and Russia, is likely to lead to renewed speculation that Cairo will attempt to build closer links with the two Security Council members in the wake of a difficult period in US–Egyptian relations, which have been strained since the downfall of former president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.