Russian and Egyptian presidents sign partnership treaty

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi signed a strategic cooperation treaty Wednesday that is intended to bolster trade and other ties between the two nations.

The treaty capped a three-day visit to Russia by the Egyptian leader. During his talks with Putin on Wednesday, El-Sissi also urged Russia to resume direct flights to Egyptian resorts, which Moscow suspended after a bomb planted by the Islamic State group brought a Russian plane down over Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board.

Flights between Moscow and Cairo resumed in April after Egyptian officials beefed up airport security, but talks about restoring direct air travel to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have dragged on.

Putin said after the talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that he and el-Sissi discussed the issue and Egyptian officials have done “everything necessary to enhance flight security.”

“We will try to resume charter flights along those routes in the nearest time,” he said.

Putin and el-Sissi signed a partnership and strategic cooperation treaty, a document the Egyptian leader said should “open a new chapter in the history of our cooperation.”

The two leaders have developed a close personal rapport and are seeking to expand bilateral ties, which have strengthened considerably in the past few years.

This week’s trip was el-Sissi’s fourth to Russia since he took office in 2014. Putin visited Egypt in 2015 and 2017.

The Russian leader said he and el-Sissi they also discussed expanding arms trade and military ties, noting that Russian and Egyptian paratroopers were conducting a joint exercise in Egypt.

Egypt has signed deals to buy billions of dollars’ worth of Russian weapons, including fighter jets and assault helicopters. When Putin visited Cairo in December, officials signed a deal for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa.

Putin and el-Sissi discussed the implementation of the nuclear plant contract and talked about setting up a prospective Russian industrial park alongside the Suez Canal. Putin added that Russian companies expect to invest up to $7 billion in building industrial plants in the area.