16 Nov 2013

Egypt - Russia talks hailed by Sisi

1:20 pm on 16 November 2013

Officials in Egypt have hailed talks with Russian ministers in Cairo as "historic".

Although no agreement has been reached, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu signalled the start of a new era of enhanced military co-operation.

The BBC reports it was the highest level visit to Egypt by a Russian delegation in years.

The flagship of Russia's Pacific fleet, the Varyag, was also on a six-day visit to Alexandria. It is the first Russian warship to visit Egypt since 1992.

Egypt and the Soviet Union were close allies until the 1970s, when Cairo moved closer to the United States, which brokered a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

In October, the United States suspended a large part of the $US1.3 billion in aid that it gives to the Egyptian military, after a crackdown on supporters of President Mohammed Morsi who was deposed by the Army on 3 July.

The BBC reports Russia is now sweeping back into favour as US influence wanes in the region.