Stability in the Middle East depends on Egypt, says Putin


MOSCOW – Russia is carefully following events in Egypt, Russian Defence Minister Army Gen Sergey Shoygu said, opening a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, First Deputy Prime Minister, Defence and Military Production Minister Marshal Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi.

‘We are carefully following the development of the situation in your country. We are interested in Egypt being a strong and stable state,’ Shoygu said.

‘We consider your efforts to establish stability in the country to be effective,’ he added.

‘We support your actions to fight against terrorism. In this regard, we are to discuss the rather important issues of military and military-technical cooperation, their current state and prospects for the future,’ he added.

‘We are interested in developing such cooperation. The cooperation of our countries has deep historical roots,’ he said.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmi, Foreign Minister Lavrov said: ‘We have agreed to speed up preparation of documents that would give an additional impetus to developing our military and military-technical cooperation.’

At the talks, President Putin said: ‘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.’

Field Marshal Sisi responded: ‘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.

‘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.’

Putin responded: ‘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.’