Egypt and Russia will do their best to boost the relationship between the two countries to a strategic level, said Egypt’s parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al after a Tuesday meeting with the speaker of the Russian parliament (the Duma) Sergey Naryshkin.
Abdel-Al told the conference that diplomatic visits between the two countries in the last two years – specifically those by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin to Cairo– reflect an official and popular will to build a strategic relationship between the two countries.
“We discussed how we can forge strong relations on a parliamentary level,” said Abdel-Al about his meeting with Naryshkin, addingthat a “parliamentary friendship committee will be formed to speed up an exchange of visits between parliamentary officials in both Egypt and Russia and to unity the position of parliaments in the two countries on a number of international issues, such as the war against terrorism, the war in Syria and other issues concerning the Middle East.”
“This was a very successful visit by Mr Naryshkin, who is a friend of the Egyptian people,” said Abdel-Al.
Naryshkin was Putin’s special envoy congratulating former army chief El-Sisi on his election as president of Egypt in June 2014.
According to Abdel-Al, the meeting with Naryshkin and a high-profile Russia delegation also covered a range of economic and political issues, as well as the necessity of finding solutions for any problems that might negatively affect cooperation between the two countries in these two respects.
”We discussed the necessity of restoring the influx of Russian tourists into Egypt and the resumption of Russian flights to the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and other Egyptian tourist destinations very soon,” said Abdel-Al.
Russia suspended its tourist flights to Egypt last November after a Russian airbus crashed in Sharm El-Sheikh last October, killing all 212 passengers.
”We discussed the necessity of fighting all forms of terrorism and how Egypt and Russia can unite their efforts to stand up to this threat at the international and regional levels,” said Abdel-Al.
For his part, Naryshkin said his visit reflects Russia’s strong interest in boosting relations with Egypt on all levels.
“We view Egypt as a regional power and a bastion of stability in the Middle East and the Arab world,” said Naryshkin, adding that “the fact that I am the first parliamentary speaker of a foreign country to visit Egypt and congratulate Abdel-Al on his election as speaker of Egypt’s new parliament should be viewed as indicating that the relationship between our two countries has become of a very special nature.”
Naryshkin said he asked Abdel-Al to lead an Egyptian parliamentary delegation to visit Russia as soon as possible.
“We welcome a visit by a high-level parliamentary delegation to Moscow very soon to reinforce the growing relations between our two countries,” said Naryshkin.
Naryshkin said he agrees with Abdel-Al that there is a pressing need for the resumption of tourist traffic to Egypt “and I am sure that this problem will be eliminated very soon.”
“I really thank the Egyptian leadership for showing a lot of understanding for the Russian concern about the safety and security of Russian citizens,” said Naryshkin, adding that “aerial and security experts from the two countries are currently exerting tremendous efforts to guarantee the safety of Russian citizens and that the decision of the Russian government to establish a consulate in Hurghada clearly testifies to this fact and that tourist traffic to Egypt will flow very soon.”
Naryshkin also indicated that he affirmed in his meeting with Abdel-Al that “the terrorist attack on the Russian airbus in Sinai never negatively affected the close friendship between Egypt and Russia.”
Naryshkin argued that an international coalition should be formed to fight terrorism in the Middle East.
“Egypt and Russia are two influential countries that should play a role in building this coalition,” said Naryshkin, stressing that he “visited Algeria and Tunisia and is now in Egypt to stress the need for a wide-scale international coalition to fight terrorism.