Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Vladimir Putin in Moscow today.
Topping the agenda is reopening flights between the two countries after a 2015 terrorist attack led Russia to stop direct flights to and from Egypt. The North African country is the largest destination for Russians vacationing abroad.
The ministers also seek to expand their $5 billion trade relationship; in late 2016 Egypt formally started negotiations to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.
More importantly, the meeting underscores the growing security relationship between the two countries, who share views that run counter to western goals in the region. Both Moscow and Cairo back Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and they oppose the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Libya. Rather, they favour General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Egypt has signed billions of dollars in arms deals with Russia despite US sanctions, and Russia is reportedly basing troops in Egypt to support regional objectives.
Despite Egypt’s decades-long security relationship with the United States and economic reliance on US-backed Gulf states, today’s meeting is another step in the deepening Egypt-Russia realignment.