President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Before we share the outcome of our work today, a few hours ago, a tragic event happened in the city of Kerch, Russia. An explosion killed several people, with many wounded.
Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and I hope that those injured will make a speedy recovery. We will do our best to ensure this.
It is already clear that this is a crime. The motives and leads relating to this tragedy are being carefully studied. More information will be released as it becomes available from law enforcement agencies and special services.
Friends, let us honour the victims’ memory with a minute’s silence.
(A minute of silence.)
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
Talks with the President of Egypt who is in Russia on an official visit were held in a business-like and constructive atmosphere. I also had an in-depth discussion with the President on a number of issues yesterday, in an informal setting.
Today, we discussed bilateral cooperation and reviewed key international and regional issues.
To reiterate, the relations between our states have a rich history, and are friendly and mutually beneficial. They are based on respect and recognition of our respective interests.
As you have seen, President el-Sisi and I just signed an Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation, which outlines major and responsible goals seeking to further deepen Russian-Egyptian ties in different areas.
Of course, we focused a lot on trade and economic issues. In 2017, Russia-Egypt trade grew 62 percent to $6.7 billion. It rose by another 28 percent in January-August. Russia is a major supplier of grain to Egypt. Our country supports Egypt’s desire to conclude a free trade area agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union. We are confident that this will open up additional opportunities for boosting economic cooperation and trade.
The President of Egypt and I discussed in detail bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. The construction of a Russian-designed nuclear power plant in Egypt by Rosatom is a major joint project in this industry. Preparatory work at the site is underway. Contracts will be signed with Egyptian companies before the end of the year, and these companies will be the contractors.
Positive cooperation experience has been gained in the production of hydrocarbon resources. Russian oil products and LNG are regularly transported to the Egyptian market.
In the context of developing industrial cooperation, I would like, first, to mention a large contract worth 1 billion euros for the delivery to Egypt of new passenger carriages in conjunction with our Hungarian partners.
A modern industrial and logistics centre will be created near the Suez Canal in Egypt, with the participation of Russia, that will include instrument production, a wood processing plant, and pharmaceutical enterprises. We plan to invest about $7 billion in this area, and create over 35,000 new jobs. As planned, the manufactured output in this area will go not only to the Egyptian, but also the Middle Eastern and African markets.
We have also thoroughly discussed prospects for military-technical cooperation. Military interaction is equally important. Russia and Egypt have been successfully interacting in this area for decades now. Joint tactical airborne troop exercises are being held in Egypt now.
Russia and Egypt have always shown and continue to show interest in the cultural and spiritual heritage of our peoples. Therefore, President el-Sisi and I have approved an initiative to declare 2020 a cross year of humanitarian cooperation.
We also considered the full-scale restoration of tourism and comprehensive air service. In April, regular direct flights resumed between Moscow and Cairo.
We have also discussed charter flights to tourist destinations popular with Russians – to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. We noted that our Egyptian friends are doing everything necessary to increase the security level. We will work to restore charter flights in the near future.
These talks have confirmed the unanimity and proximity of our positions on important international and regional issues. Our cooperation has always been and remains an effective security factor in the Middle East and North Africa.
We have informed our colleagues about the steps taken by Russia to resolve the Syria conflict. We compared notes on this issue and agreed to work together. We agreed that the situation in the Idlib Province, where a significant number of militants has accumulated in the de-escalation zone, requires special attention. There is the risk of infiltration into neighbouring states. We informed our Egyptian friends of the underlying concepts of our agreements with Turkey on this problem.
We agreed to continue coordination to intensify the Syrian political process. Allow me to remind you that Egypt secured the so-called Cairo Platform opposition group participation in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.
The next step is to set up and launch a constitutional committee in Geneva. It is also important to make collective efforts to rebuild Syria’s economy and create favourable conditions for the return of the refugees.
Russia and Egypt will continue to jointly search for ways to overcome the internal political split in Libya, to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russia and Egypt both support strict observance of the principles of a Palestinian-Israeli settlement as stipulated in the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the earliest possible restoration of direct dialogue between the parties on all controversial issues, including the status of Jerusalem.
In 2019, Egypt will chair the African Union. We wish all our Egyptian friends and President el-Sisi success in this high-responsibility mission. We expect that the Egyptian presidency will promote stronger cooperation between Russia and all African states.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr President and all our Egyptian friends for these substantive and productive talks. The results achieved today will certainly contribute to further strengthening of our interstate relations.
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President,
Let me convey sincere condolences on my behalf and on behalf of the people of Egypt to the Russian people on the tragedy that happened in Russia today. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
President Putin, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to once again thank my dear friend President Putin for the warm welcome during this important visit that emphasises the strength of the close historical relations between Egypt and Russia. While being here, let me note that I am pleased with the great successes in Russian-Egyptian relations over the last four years as well as the achievements we made in all areas, above all the agreement to build the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant. I believe that this project will without a doubt become a breakthrough in the relations between our countries, like the project to create a Russian industrial zone in the eastern city of Port Said. I think this project will bring the cooperation between our countries to the stage of joint production instead of just trade. And I am confident that this project’s implementation will make a real breakthrough in the volume and quality of Russia’s direct investment in Egypt.
Our joint efforts to promote friendship between our countries have resulted today in the signing of the Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation. I believe this Agreement will begin a new chapter in the history of our cooperation and provide us with long-term opportunities and new horizons that will promote our bilateral cooperation and relations to a new level entirely.
I would also like to note that President Putin and I have agreed today to declare 2020 the Russia-Egypt Year of Culture. I hope that this year will see various events that can testify to the depth of the cultural, civilizational and artistic ties between our countries and peoples.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In addition to Egypt-Russia cooperation that is aimed at ensuring a better future for our nations, we are coordinating our activities on important regional issues based on our belief in the paramount importance of restoring security and stability in the Middle East so that the interests of the peoples in that region are met and guarantees of a better future for its youth after a long period of suffering caused by war and destruction are provided.
In this context, President Putin and I discussed today the Palestine issue and stated that the positions of Egypt and Russia on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process have become much closer. We also reaffirmed our unshakable positions regarding the need to achieve a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestine issue based on the two-state solution for two nations within the 1967 border in pursuance of international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
We paid special attention to the developments in Syria during the talks. We agreed on the need to continue consultations and coordination between Egypt and Russia on this important issue. We agreed that it is necessary to work to prevent further escalation of the situation in Syria.
In this context, we agreed to call on UN special envoys to Syria to speed up the process of forming a constitutional commission as an important step to create the necessary conditions to resume political talks and reach a comprehensive political solution to meet the legitimate hopes of the brotherly people of Syria and maintain the territorial integrity of the Syrian state.
Regarding the situation in Libya. We discussed the latest events through the political and security prism and exchanged views and assessments on the actions of the various parties involved in the events in Libya.
In this context, I shared with President Putin Egypt’s vision on a political solution in Libya, and also Cairo’s efforts to unite the Libyan National Army for it to perform effectively.
We have also discussed the aftermath of recent clashes in Tripoli that showed how dangerous and reckless it is to rely on armed groups in order to provide security. We believe that only the regular army as well as security and law enforcement agencies should be given such a task.
We have also reaffirmed that all the members of the international community must strictly follow UN Special Envoy in Libya Ghassan Salamé’s initiative, such as to avoid other decisions.
We believe that searching for parallel solutions would only prolong the crisis and deepen differences between the Libyan parties. We believe such actions are not based on a consensus.
During our talks, President Putin and I agreed it was necessary to improve the information exchange process between our countries’ special services as part of counterterrorism efforts, especially regarding terrorists’ movements from unstable regions to other states where they carry out new attacks.
We have also reaffirmed that it is necessary to prevent these terrorists from crossing state borders. We have agreed to exchange information on such people with other countries and international organisations.
In this context, I have reaffirmed Egypt’s readiness to cooperate with Russia in this area more closely, considering that our countries are partners by tradition and share a perspective on this serious challenge that threatens the stability in the region. I have also provided President Putin with a short review of the results of the Sinai 2018 operation. The success of this operation proves the success of Egypt’s efforts in countering terrorism.
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me once again thank President Putin for this amiable invitation to visit Russia, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Egyptian people. I would like to stress our firm historical and strategic relations, which we hope to further develop in the future in order to fulfil our peoples’ wish for stability and development.
Thank you very much for your attention.