22:38 GMT +324 March 2018
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
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    Putin's Visit to Egypt Spells Hope for the Middle East

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    Putin "took advantage of the mistakes that Washington made" in Egypt, Israeli publicist and political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Radio Sputnik.

    Closer ties between Russia and Egypt, strengthened during Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Cairo, will likely contribute to easing tensions in the Middle East, Israeli publicist and political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Radio Sputnik.

    Putin "took advantage of the mistakes that Washington made" in Egypt, according to Eskin. The United States and Egypt enjoyed decades-long friendship, with Cairo reaping substantial benefits. "America put pressure on Israel; Israel gave them back the whole Sinai. Egypt also received a lot of aid from America," Eskin said.

    The bilateral ties were weakened when the US decided to help the Muslim Brotherhood come to power, according to the political analyst. The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak led to several years of turbulence and bloodshed in the country. The situation improved in 2013 when the army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted then-president Mohamed Morsi and outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, Eskin pointed out.
    Both Russian and Egypt consider the group to be a terrorist organization.

    "The Russians were among those who actually greeted [Sisi], not as much as the Israelis," Eskin said. However, even Israel has found common ground with the current Egyptian leadership. "The Israelis are very happy with Sisi, because he views the region’s problems very closely to the way we do. He already declared that Hamas and the Islamic State, or ISIS, are terrorist organizations and he fights terrorism," Eskin said.

    "Basically, [Russia] will contribute to cooling down the region which is not easy. As you know, the Middle East is a very-very hot place," the political analyst said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin was on a two-day visit to Cairo in early February. Both leaders pledged to step up efforts to fight terrorism and increase military cooperation.

    Sisi described Russia as a "strategic friend" during Putin’s visit, according to Reuters. Earlier, Middle Eastern scholar Vladimir Belyakov told RIA Novosti that Putin has become a hero and a symbol of anti-US hegemony and anti-Islamic extremism among Egyptians.


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