President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (retranslated): Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin by greeting His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin, a friend of Egypt whose presence here today is evidence of solid strategic relations between Egypt and the Russian Federation.
Strong ties between our countries date back in history and are based on bilateral political relations, coordinated positions on the regional and international stages, as well as our economic ties, which began with the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt and an iron and steel plant. Today we have signed a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt.
Egypt has always regarded Russia as a strategic partner and an ally in all spheres. Relations between our countries developed over centuries, which was reflected in our talks with President Vladimir Putin today.
We pointed out that relations between Egypt and the Russian Federation are strong and that they continue to grow, as evidenced by our joint ventures, mutual trade and the attraction of investment.
We are aware of the importance of attracting Russian investment to Egypt through the establishment of a Russian industrial area on the Suez Canal. We have issued instructions to the concerned ministries and agencies to settle all possible problems so as to promote bilateral cooperation in the spirit of coordination reached at the talks on the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.
Ladies and gentlemen, seeking to achieve a bright future for our nations, we have coordinated our views on the regional agenda. Today we discussed issues related to our countries’ national security.
The main goal for Egypt and Russia is to ensure stability and peace in our region, in the Middle East, in order to create a better future for future generations. In this context, we discussed the Palestinian issue following the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
We also discussed the possible consequences of this serious and dangerous decision for stability and a settlement of the conflict. We also expressed confidence that Jerusalem’s legal status must be determined on the basis of international law and the relevant UN decisions, which must not complicate the situation in the region.
Your Excellency Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
The Palestinian issue was at the top of our agenda today. We appreciate Russia’s efforts towards a peaceful and political settlement of this problem, as well as the efforts of the four-party commission on Palestine. We highly value your efforts towards a fair settlement of the oldest conflict in the region, which is still waiting for a just settlement.
Today we also spoke about the situation in Syria and Libya. We focused on the importance of a peaceful and political solution to these issues.
As for Syria, our positions coincided regarding what is called the de-escalation zone in Syria. We believe we must expand these zones to create appropriate conditions for a further peace process and negotiations between all religious and political groups in Syria.
In this context, we highly appreciated all successful efforts to form a unified delegation representing all opposition groups in coordination with the UN envoy to the regions, to achieve a political settlement that would meet the expectations of the Syrian people and preserve the country’s territorial integrity and unity.
Concerning Libya, we have voiced our decision to combine international efforts to regulate and lessen the instability in Libya in a political way; we support all the efforts of the UN envoy to that region at the next phase that should follow the transition period.
We also support holding parliamentary and presidential elections in that country to stabilise it, and the unification of military forces in Libya. I confirmed this at yesterday’s meeting with Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez Al-Sarraj.
Mr Putin and I both emphasised the exchange of intelligence information between the competent authorities in both countries to fight terrorism and destabilisation, especially because most of the militants are now moving from these hot spots in the Middle East and attacking other places in the region. We also support and urge all states to prevent them from moving to other states.
Your Excellency Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
We note the strength of relations today between Egypt and the Russian Federation. Once again, we welcome you here on behalf of the entire Egyptian people.
We focus on building up our strategic relations and partnership in all areas.
Thank you. I will now give the floor to President Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to begin by thanking the President of Egypt and all our Egyptian colleagues for the warm and heartfelt welcome.
Mr el-Sisi and I had very informative and constructive talks both during our limited attendance meeting and with the involvement of delegation participants, and outlined our cooperation plans for the future.
We discussed the most pressing issues on the international and regional agendas.
Russia has always put special emphasis on developing friendly and mutually beneficial ties with Egypt, our long-term and reliable partner in the Middle East and North Africa.
Bilateral cooperation is picking up pace and acquiring a new quality.
This is largely due to expanded trade and economic cooperation. Today, we noted with satisfaction that mutual trade is up 50 percent at over $4 billion as of the end of the first nine months of 2017. We noted the importance of continuing talks on creating a free trade area between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union.
We focused particularly on our joint work in the energy sector, including hydrocarbons and the construction of the first in Egypt El-Dabaa nuclear power plant. Once the construction is completed, Egypt will have not just a nuclear power plant, but access to the latest safe technologies as well.
We also considered another promising project, which is to build a Russian industrial zone in Egypt. We believe that it will become a major regional centre for producing and exporting Russian-made goods to the markets of the Middle East and Africa. Russia’s leading companies are already showing an interest in this project. The total investment in the project is projected at $7 billion.
We discussed interaction in agriculture. Egypt is one of the main buyers of Russian wheat. About 5.5 million tonnes of grain have already been delivered to Egypt over the past three quarters. We are ready to continue to meet the Egyptian market’s need for grain in the future.
We agreed to expand ties in the military and military-technical spheres, primarily in order to strengthen the antiterrorist potential of the armed forces of Egypt.
Of course, we could not ignore tourism. Direct air travel between our countries was suspended in the wake of the terrible tragedy in the skies over Sinai in October 2015.
Egypt used this time to do a fair amount of work to tighten airport security. The President and I discussed the sequence of future joint steps designed to resume direct air service.
The Russian security services reported to me that we are overall ready to re-open direct air service between Moscow and Cairo. We will need to sign a corresponding intergovernmental protocol. We will see to it that it is signed shortly.
We had an in-depth exchange of opinions on the major international issues. Our approaches are either very close or completely the same.
I informed the President of the steps Russia is taking to stabilise the situation in Syria. I also spoke about the results of my visit to Syria today.
As you may know, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Syrian territory has been almost entirely liberated from terrorists. I believe the tasks that were to be tackled with an extensive involvement of the Russian Armed Forces have been mostly completed. Mr Sisi and I agreed to intensify our coordination to facilitate the long-term political settlement of the Syrian crisis.
We appreciate our Egyptian partners’ support of Russia’s initiative to organise the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. We plan to involve various oppositional groups in the Congress, including members of the Moscow and Cairo groups.
Russia and Egypt are also interested in ensuring stability and security in Libya, in restoring its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
We value Egypt’s constructive approach to the Middle East settlement process. We welcome the agreement that was signed here, in Cairo, between Fatah and Hamas last October, aimed at strengthening intra-Palestinian unity.
Our countries both speak in favour of the soonest possible resumption of direct Palestine-Israel dialogue on all matters of dispute, including the status of Jerusalem. It is necessary to reach long-term and fair agreements that would serve the interests of both sides.
And of course, these agreements must correspond with the earlier decisions of the international community. Russia fully supports all the UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.
We believe that any steps that run ahead of the outcome of the dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israeli are counter-productive. Such steps destabilise the situation rather than resolve it.
Finally, I would like to thank our Egyptian friends for our productive work together. I am certain that implementation of today’s decisions will benefit the further comprehensive development of the partnership between Russia and Egypt.
Thank you very much.