Egypt carefully examined grain imports from Russia, minister says

Egypt’s Agriculture Minister Ezz el Din Abu Steit stressed that all grain imports from Russia are carefully checked to ensure they are free from any harmful substances that may pose a danger to the Egyptian agriculture, according to MENA on Friday.

Abu Steit’s remarks came in response to reports questioning about the possible danger of importing wheat from Russia after the recent radioactive explosion in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Thursday.

The minister assigned head of the Central Department of Agricultural Quarantine Ahmed el Attar to contact Egypt’s trade representative in Moscow to make sure that agricultural lands in Russia were not affected by the blast, it added.

Radiation levels in the Russian city of Severodvinsk rose by up to 16 times on Aug. 8 after an accident that authorities said involved a rocket test on a sea platform, Russia’s state weather agency said on Tuesday, the TASS news agency reported.

The defense ministry initially said background radiation had remained normal after the incident but city authorities in Severodvinsk in northern Russia said there had been a brief spike in radiation levels, Reuters reported. Greenpeace has said radiation levels rose by 20 times.

Russia’s state weather agency, Rosgidromet, said on Tuesday that it believed radiation levels had risen by four to 16 times.

Earlier in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement with Egypt which was signed in October during a state visit by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to Sochi, and endorsed by Egypt in December.

The agreement is about developing further cooperation in the sectors of trade, economy, technical military affairs, communications, nuclear energy, transportation, mining, tourism, science, education, cultural affairs, and coordination on mechanisms and measures aimed at combating various challenges and threats on the regional and international scales.