Russia, Egypt to speedily draft agreements on military-technological cooperation – Lavrov
According to the Russian Foreign Minister, the issues in question came under discussion during a meeting of the two countries' Defence Ministers earlier on Thursday.
Moscow played host Thursday to a meeting of the Russian and Egyptian Foreign and Defence Ministers in the two-on-two format.
The Egyptian Army spokesperson, Ahmed Mohammed Ali, told the RIA Novosti news agency in the run-up to the meeting that the Egyptian Ministers would pay a return visit to Moscow following a visit to Cairo by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on November 14th 2013.
The main result of the November visit was an agreement to shape a fully fledged legal basis for the two countries' military-technological cooperation, as well as to step up antiterrorism cooperation.
The Russian delegation paid a visit to Cairo amid frosting in relations between the two strategic allies, - Cairo and Washington, after the US State Department announced a "retuning" of military relations with Egypt and suspending the deliveries of some weapons systems, as well as suspending financial aid to the government in Cairo.
The United States had been providing Egypt with an annual military assistance to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars. Washington had been reconsidering its aid to the Egyptian authorities since July last year, when the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown as a result of mass protests. An Egyptian military expert, retired General Hossam Soualem, said in the wake of the Russian Ministers' visit that the worth of the arms deal brokered by Moscow and Cairo made up some 2 billion dollars.
According to the expert, Russia will supply Egypt with the weapons systems that are similar to those that Washington was originally to have delivered to the Arab country.
Soualem said specifically that Moscow pledged to supply Cairo with 24 MIG-29 fighter jets, air defence systems, the KORNET anti-tank missile complex, as well as combat helicopters Ka-25, Mi-28 and Mi-25.
The Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers have issued a joint statement calling for continued talks between Israel and Palestine and stressing the need for Israel to leave the occupied territories and a viable Palestinian state to be created.
"They (the participants of the Russian-Egyptian consultations) called on the parties to show the good will for continuing the talks and to avoid any unilateral steps," according to the joint statement issued after the two plus two negotiations held between the Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers in Moscow. There is "deep concern over the illegal settlement activity carried out by Israel in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem," the negotiators said.
"The ministers agreed that the departure from the occupied territories within the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, and the creation of a territorially integral, viable and sovereign Palestinian state are of great importance," the statement said.
"(This) will help strengthen security in the region, eliminate a serious source of instability and create favorable conditions for development, wellfare and interaction between its peoples," the statement continued.
"The task of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be pushed to the back burner by some other processes occurring in the region," according to the statement, which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive the participants in the Russian-Egyptian 2+2 meeting between the two countries' foreign and defense ministers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "Our joint statement will be published after the president receives the ministers," Lavrov said at a press conference following the 2+2 meeting in Moscow on Thursday.
Taking part in the meeting earlier in the day were Lavrov, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, and Defense Minister Abdelfattah Said el-Sisi.
The ongoing Moscow-Cairo dialogue on regional and international problems is acquiring special importance at the current stage, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in a statement as he declared open a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy, earlier today.
The two countries' Defence Ministers, Sergei Shoigu and Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, are due to join the meeting later on, VR correspondent Ksenia Melnikova reports.
"We are glad to welcome you today for the continuation of the talks that we began yesterday", Lavrov said. "We have covered quite a path in terms of implementing the agreements we have reached since we first met in the two-on-two format in Cairo in November last year. The current meeting is a good opportunity to sum up the preliminary results". Lavrov pointed out that Russia is "interested in ensuring further development of relations that are based on decades of mutual sympathy and cooperation". The Russian Foreign Minister said the bilateral agenda features military technological cooperation, economic issues and humanitarian cooperation.
Sergei Lavrov said that dialogue on international and regional problems is acquiring special importance at the current stage. "I am positive, Lavrov said, that simultaneous talks between the two Defence Ministers and the forthcoming talks in the two-on-two format will prove conducive to progress in all the areas in question".
Two plus two negotiations involving the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Egypt will take place in Moscow on February 13.
"The meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi, Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be held on February 13," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
Both Egyptian ministers will already be in Moscow on Wednesday, a source said.
Apart from the two plus two meeting there will be broader bilateral contacts between the countries' foreign affairs and defense officials, the diplomat said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax,