President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
The talks with President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were constructive and business-like in spirit. We exchanged views on the full range of our bilateral relations, which have always been of a friendly and mutually advantageous nature. Our bilateral cooperation has developed particularly actively of late, and our regular contacts with the Egyptian Government and with Mr el-Sisi personally have contributed to this.
We took a detailed look at our trade and economic cooperation today. In particular, we noted that our bilateral trade increased by 86 percent in 2014. True, during the first six months of this year, an unfavourable situation and the exchange rate difference affected our trade and led to a small downward adjustment.
We agreed today to make the needed effort to reduce the impact of external factors and set our trade back on a steady growth track. Concrete steps we can take to give the economy fresh incentives include a possible free trade zone, what would in essence amount to a free trade zone between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union, using our national currencies in mutual settlements, and facilitating investment cooperation and investment flows.
I note that around 400 companies with Russian capital already work in Egypt and are carrying out large and promising projects. We hope that the joint fund set up by investment organisations in Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will make a substantial contribution to this work.
We are making successful advances in our energy sector projects. Rosneft, Gazprom and other Russian companies, including LUKOIL, are working in Egypt.
One of our biggest bilateral projects is the construction of a nuclear power plant using Russian technology in Egypt. Specialists from both countries are now finalising the practical aspects of this power plant’s construction.
Given that Egypt recently launched the expanded Suez Canal, we exchanged views on the possibility of boosting our industrial cooperation and possibly establishing a Russian industrial zone.
Agriculture is an important area for our cooperation. Egyptian exporters are making good use of the new opportunities that have opened up on the Russian market following the restrictive measures we took in response to the European Union’s sanctions. Imports of produce from Egypt increased by more than 8 percent over the first six months of this year.
For its part, Egypt is one of the biggest export markets for Russia’s wheat. We exported 4 million tonnes to Egypt last year, covering 40 percent of the country’s demand. We plan to increase supplies, and in this context, we discussed prospects for Russia to take part in building grain infrastructure facilities in Egypt.
We see good prospects for cooperation in civil aviation, and are looking at the possibility of delivering the Sukhoi Superjet 100 to Egypt’s national airline.
Russia continues its work to help train qualified specialists for Egypt’s needs.
As we know, Egypt has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for Russians. A record number of Russians visited Egyptian resorts in 2014, around three million people, which is 35 percent more than in 2013.
We exchanged views on current international issues too, of course. We agree that it is in both countries’ fundamental interests to build up our foreign policy cooperation.
We have common views on the need for greater efforts to fight international terrorism. This is particularly urgent today, given the aggressive designs of radical groups, above all the Islamic State.
We stressed the need for a broad counterterrorism front in which the key international players and the region’s countries, including Syria, would take part. We also discussed other issues concerning the situation in the region.
In conclusion, I want to thank the President and our Egyptian friends and colleagues for these substantive talks that will undoubtedly help to deepen further the traditionally friendly relations and partnership between Russia and Egypt.
President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (retranslated): Mr Putin, President of the friendly Russian Federation,
First of all, I want to thank you, Mr President, for the invitation to come to Moscow again and meet with you. This is our fourth meeting, and this underscores the special nature of the relations between our peoples and is evidence of the progress in the traditional and strategic relations between our countries.
Mr President, I am absolutely certain that our meeting today will give a new boost to our bilateral relations, which have developed rapidly over the last two years and reached a new level. We now want to take this new level, strengthen it further and expand our partnership in the future, all the more so when we see the bold position that Russia under your leadership took to support the Egyptian people’s will and choice at a time when our country faced big challenges unprecedented in its history.
At the talks with Mr President today, we discussed various aspects of our bilateral relations and confirmed the strong political ties between our countries. We also discussed practical and effective steps we need to take to strengthen our cooperation. During these talks, we agreed on the need to develop our trade and economic relations and our investment ties as a solid base for developing and strengthening long-term strategic relations between Egypt and Russia.
I said to Mr President that I am happy with the results achieved and with the progress made thanks to efforts in both countries to carry out obligations regarding joint projects and activate cooperation mechanisms. I think that we have big and promising opportunities ahead. We hope to begin practical steps to establish a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal region, given the clear ideas we have about carrying out ambitious investment projects and increasing our bilateral trade.
In this same context, we have made good progress of late in our work together in the nuclear energy sector, and we hope very much to make use of Russia’s considerable experience in this vital area.
Our talks also covered a number of important areas in which we hope to see a considerable increase in our cooperation in the near future. These matters will be the subject of a detailed examination and discussion at the tenth session of our Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation, which will take place in Egypt at the end of the year.
We discussed international and regional issues of mutual interest. I was very pleased to see that we coincide in our views of how to settle these issues. In particular, we reaffirmed the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Geneva communique. We also reaffirmed the need to settle the Palestinian issue, including giving the Palestinian people their lawful rights and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
We discussed the situation in Yemen, Iraq and the latest events in Libya, including ways of preventing terrorism, which threatens us all. We share a common understanding of the fact that the existence of terrorism is linked to hotbeds of tension in the Middle East. This makes it essential that we develop and activate our cooperation and consultations to find concrete solutions to these problems and guarantee the unity, territorial integrity and security of the region’s countries.
President Putin, I want to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for having Russia represented at such a high level by the Prime Minister at the opening of the new Suez Canal. This was very much appreciated in Egypt at official level and by the general public.
Mr President, I want to express our gratitude for the gift of the Russian naval hardware that took part in the Suez Canal’s opening ceremony. This was a very generous gesture that Egyptians saw as proof of the strong and friendly relations between our countries and peoples.
I am happy with the progress made and the success in developing our relations in the military cooperation, arms, training for personnel, exchange of experience and help in the fight against terrorism. I hope such intensive work in this area will continue and we will activate our cooperation mechanisms in our common interest of achieving stability in the Middle East and guaranteeing international security.
In conclusion, I want to thank you once again, Mr President, and thank the friendly Russian people for this hospitality and warm reception. Egypt and Russia have reaffirmed of late their desire to strengthen the strategic relations between our countries, which are based on political and intellectual rapprochement, our historical heritage, and the friendship and mutual respect between our countries and peoples. Egypt values this greatly.
Mr President, I hope personally for close cooperation with you to strengthen and develop our strategic partnership and relations in the future.
Thank you for your attention.