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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during their meeting in Moscow, August 26, 2015

    Russia Roaring Back to Business in Egypt - Media

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    The recent official visit to Moscow by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi underscored Cairo’s pivotal role in Russia’s Middle East policies, a Hong Kong-based online newspaper wrote on Friday.

    President Vladimir Putin made a smart decision to back Sisi when the latter came to power in July 2013 in a move that was viewed with distaste by most countries as a reactionary development that might set the clock back for the democratic transformation of Egypt (and the Middle East as a whole), M. K. Bhadrakumar, India’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey, wrote in Friday’s issue of Asia Times.

    “Indeed, Putin played his card brilliantly – and cold-bloodedly. It was a magnificent display of realpolitik, with no pretensions of any high principles involved, except that Russia’s self-interests shall always be the leitmotif of its foreign policies,” M. K. Bhadrakumar noted.

    The result was almost instantaneous.

    Within four months of being elected as president, Sisi reached a preliminary deal to buy arms worth $3.5 billion from Russia, which was an act of strategic defiance of the US on his part, he added.

    “Now that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is firmly in the saddle and the international community has accepted the legitimacy of his election victory last year, the US too is mending fences with the Egyptian leader. But Sisi remembers Putin’s backing when he needed such support most – and he made it a point to refer to it at his joint news conference with Putin at the Kremlin Wednesday,” Bhadrakumar continued.

    “Clearly, Egypt is fast emerging as Russia’s number one partner in the entire Middle East region. It makes sense for Russia to make such a strategic decision. For Egypt is the most populous Arab nation and it has always played a lead role in the geopolitics of the region,” the author wrote in conclusion.

    On August 25 the Egyptian president met with Vladimir Putin as part of his two-day working visit to Moscow.

    The two leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East and trade and other economic cooperation between their two countries.


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