10 августа 2015

Egypt is factor for stability, Russia’s priority partner in Middle East

MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. Egypt is one of Russia’s priority partners in the Middle East, polled analysts have told TASS.

Russian-Egyptian relations were very eventful of late. Last year’s trade came close to $5.5 billion, going up by 80% in contrast to 2013. On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Egypt to attend the inauguration of a new bed of the Suez Canal. On the eve of the visit he told Egyptian media in an interview the two countries were considering some very promising projects, including those in military-technical cooperation and GLONASS.

The director of the Military and Political Studies Centre at the Moscow state institute of international relations MGIMO, Aleksei Podberyozkin, said "Egypt is a leading state in the region in various respects, including military aspects."

"For many Arab countries Egypt is a sample of the way one should behave in confronting terrorist challenges. These days, with the opening of another bed of the Suez Canal, Egypt will gain a firmer economic foothold, as the role of transport corridors for international trade will soar," Podberyozkin said.

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He recalled that Moscow and Cairo have maintained close relations in military, technical and economic terms since the 1950s, of which the Aswan Hydro, built by Soviet specialists, is a bright example.

"In the following years quite a few joint projects were carried out. Thousands of students and engineers from Egypt have been trained in Moscow. By virtue of the vast cooperation potential that Russia and Egypt have accumulated over years the outlook for bilateral cooperation is very encouraging," Podberyozkin said.

The president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, believes that Egypt’s large population and geographic location are major factors for the country’s great influence on all processes in the Middle East.

"Egypt’s role in resistance to the terrorist Islamic State is particularly great. Egypt is not only fighting with militants in the Sinai Peninsula, but also keeping under control the Iraqi-Saudi border. Without that Saudi Arabia would have a really hard time," Satanovsky said.

The head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, believes that Egypt is a factor for anti-extremist sentiment in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Cairo has been very successful in its negotiations with Israel and with the monarchies of the Gulf. It has firmly opposed the expansion of terrorist groups. Radical Islam is a common threat to Russia and Egypt. In the struggle with it the two countries are allies. Cooperation in political, military, technical and economic terms is a vital need for Moscow and Cairo," Sivkov said.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors

Tamara Zamyatina

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