Earlier the same day the Egyptian delegation met with heads of the Russian Foreign and Defence ministries.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ministers, colleagues, welcome to Moscow.
I am very pleased that in the course of your visit and your meetings with the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation we have the opportunity to meet in person to discuss the development of relations between our two countries.
Russia and Egypt are traditional, long-term truly historic partners. Our cooperation is based on the unconditional friendship between our nations. We are closely following the political developments in your country and we wish Egypt’s leaders every success on the path to national peace and accord.
Mr Defence Minister, I know that you have decided to run for President. This is a very important decision – to undertake responsibility for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own behalf and on behalf of all Russians I would like to wish you success.
”Russia and Egypt are traditional, long-term truly historic partners. Our cooperation is based on the unconditional friendship between our nations.“
I would like to note that in the past five years there has been a noticeable growth in trade between our countries. However, unfortunately we saw a certain decline last year. Nevertheless, I am certain that we can not only reverse this decline but also reach new heights – at least $5 billion-worth in trade. The average figure now is around $3 billion, but we can definitely reach $5 billion in the near future.
Mr Defence Minister, I am addressing this to you not only as to the person who heads the military leadership, but also as the First Deputy Prime Minister, who, in this capacity, as I know, is actively involved in economic and social issues.
We have a lot of good, prospective and large joint projects in the economy and I hope that after all your domestic procedures have been dealt with – after the presidential election, the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for next summer, and when the Government is formed – I hope we will be able to cooperate in full in all areas.
This applies to tourism among other things. In this respect, we are interested in cooperating with Egypt’s Government in general and with the Foreign Ministry in particular. We have a few issues here: the number of Russian tourists visiting Egypt dropped by almost a million last year: from the usual 2.3–2.4 million to around 1.5 million. These million people went to other countries: for example, 4 million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year.
However, we hope that Egypt will be able to restore its traditional position in tourism, which is a very important sector in its economy.
First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Military Industry of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (retranslated): I would like to use this opportunity to thank you personally and the people of Russia for the excellent organisation of the Sochi Olympics. We congratulate you on this achievement.
I will not take up too much of your time. I would only like to say that the “two plus two” format of our meetings that we have developed seems very important and efficient and makes it possible to discuss a broad range of priority issues, including those of security, military cooperation and anti-terrorist efforts.
I would like to stress here that the whole world is interested in the stability of Egypt. I would also like to say that the people of Egypt have great respect for you primarily for your assistance in the economy and in security matters.
”We are closely following the political developments in your country and we wish Egypt’s leaders every success on the path to national peace and accord.“
This is acquiring special importance in view of the great challenges facing our society. The scale of these challenges requires the joint efforts of all our people. You have already mentioned the long-standing traditions of cooperation between our countries; they are truly historic and date back to the close cooperation of the 1950s and 1960s.
I would also like to stress that terrorist attacks both in Egypt and in other countries threaten the security not only of our country, but also of the entire Middle East. Terrorist attacks lead to dangerous consequences, as we have said, both for our country and the region.
Look, for instance, at what is going on in Libya, Syria and in our country. This is why joint efforts are required now to meet this challenge.
I would like to assure you that Egypt’s position and the will of its people on this issue remain unchanged. The will of Egypt and its people is now focused on bringing about cardinal change. It is very important for us to succeed now, because the eyes of the entire world are on us.
When Egyptians say they need security, we have to give them security. The Egyptian army is truly a people’s army and it has the power to meet this challenge. The majority of the people understand this.
We have managed to traverse a significant path on the way to creating new government institutions. As you may know, we have adopted a new Constitution, and on its basis we will hold presidential and then, as you correctly said, parliamentary elections. Thus, we will commence the creation of a new society.
Thank you once again for the opportunity to exchange views on issues of mutual interest. I would like to assure you that the people of Egypt are looking forward to the success of our meeting.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Allow me, Field Marshall, to wish you and your people good luck.
Stability in the Middle East rests largely on Egypt’s stability. I believe that your experience will allow you to mobilise your followers and to improve relations with all sections of Egyptian society.