Top Russian MP eyes resumption of flights, tourism with Egypt

Russia is interested in resuming in full its relations with Egypt in tourism and in civil aviation flights, Russian news agencies quoted Sergei Naryshkin, the speaker of the Russian lower house of parliament (Duma), as saying Monday.

Naryshkin said he did not rule out talks on the resumption of flights between the two countries during his visit to Egypt this week.

“We are, of course, interested in fully restoring economic relations, including tourism and flights between our countries,” Naryshkin, who will lead the parliamentary delegation during the visit to Cairo on January 26-27, said.

“But this will be possible only in case the safety of our citizens is fully guaranteed,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

Russia stopped all civilian flights to Egypt, a popular destination of Russian holiday-makers, after a bomb brought down a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The A321 plane belonging to Russia’s air company Kogalymavia was en route from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to St. Petersburg in Russia (flight KGL 9268) when it crashed over the Sinai Peninsula early on October 31. The plane fell near El Hasna populated locality 100km to the south of Al-Arish, the administrative center of the North Sinai Governorate (province). All the 224 people onboard, including 217 passengers and the 7-member crew, died. The passengers, most of whom were Russians, also included four Ukrainians and one citizen of Belarus.

Source: Reuters & TASS