President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi yesterday reiterated the importance of prioritising dialogue and diplomatic solutions to settle the Russian-Ukrainian War, voicing Egypt’s support for all endeavours that would speed up the political settlement of the crisis.
El-Sisi made his remarks during a meeting with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov at Cairo’s El-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace.
The president stressed to Lavrov Egypt’s readiness to support the dialogue and diplomatic path via its international contacts with all active forces, whether through a bilateral or multilateral framework, a statement by presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady said following the meeting.
During the meeting, Lavrov briefed the Egyptian president on the latest developments of the crisis in Ukraine and the latest Russian steps at the international level to manage the issue, the statement added.
Recently, Egypt, in coordination with the Arab League, formed a Ukrainian Crisis Liaison Group that held meetings with Russian and Ukrainian officials with the aim of achieving a diplomatic solution to end the war.
Consequently, Lavrov conveyed to El-Sisi a message of appreciation from Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Egyptian initiative to form the liaison group.
Furthermore, the meeting tackled a host of bilateral issues within the framework of the cooperative ties that bind Egypt and Russia, especially in the fields of grain and food supply, as well as the oil and gas sector in light of the current crisis, Rady added.
The meeting also tackled means of boosting bilateral ties within the framework of the strategic partnership between Egypt and Russia through the ongoing joint development projects.
Additionally, El-Sisi praised the level of cooperation between Cairo and Moscow, especially through Russia’s projects in Egypt, including the El-Dabaa Project — Egypt’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity — and the Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
Lavrov, who landed in Cairo on Saturday night, was also received by his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry yesterday at the ministry’s headquarters, where they held talks in the presence of delegations from the two countries.
According to a short statement by Ahmed Hafez, the spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry, they covered topics of bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Russia and exchanged visions on a number of regional and international matters.
In a phone-in with TV Channel ON E, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League Hossam Zaki said yesterday that Lavrov’s visit to Egypt would enhance Arab-Russian relations.
He added that the visit comes amid the adjournment of the Arab-Russian Forum, which was supposed to be held in the past period, however, it was postponed due to the recent events in Ukraine.
The Russian top diplomat’s visit to Cairo is the first leg of his five-day African tour, which includes Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Russia’s state-run RT.
The Russian-Ukrainian War has negatively affected the world economy, driving up oil and gas prices to unprecedented levels, with African countries being among those most affected.
In an article posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, Lavrov dismissed the west’s accusations that Russia is responsible for the global food crisis as “another attempt to shift blame to others.”
Referring to some African countries’ political stances, Lavrov hailed what he called the “independent path” these nations took when they refrained from joining the west in sanctioning Russia.
“We know that our African colleagues do not approve of the undisguised attempts of the US and their European satellites to gain the upper hand and to impose a unipolar world order on the international community,” he wrote in the article, which also was published in four African newspapers, according to AP.
Lavrov’s visit to Cairo comes less than two weeks after US President Joe Biden’s Middle East tour.
The Russian top diplomat’s tour also coincides with the regional tour of US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOA) Mike Hammer to Egypt, Ethiopia, and the UAE.
The visit is meant to address the long-standing issue caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to a statement by the US Department of State on Saturday.
Hammer is set to land in Cairo on Sunday before heading to the UAE and Ethiopia.
The envoy’s visit aims to provide US support towards forging a diplomatic resolution to issues caused by the GERD in order to achieve the interests of all parties and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous region, the statement pointed out.
Negotiations between downstream countries Egypt and Sudan and upstream Ethiopia have been frozen since April 2021, with all attempts to revive the talks since then ending in failure.