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A Meeting of the Minds of Russian and Egyptian Foreign Ministers

Aug. 22, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met today in Moscow. Lavrov followed their meeting with a press conference.

Lavrov opened by announcing that they had reviewed all relations between the two countries, and stated, "Egypt is our leading partner in the Mideast and North Africa."

Lavrov said that Russia had held several meetings in Cairo which "made it possible to agree on the Syrian deescalation zones in Eastern Ghouta and Homs," and that both were "helping form a collective delegation of the Syrian opposition to negotiate with the government on a constructive and realistic platform," in which all political and tribal groups would participate. He said that is also true for Libya, and for stopping the bloodshed in Yemen as well. Lavrov pointed out that the Arab-Israeli problem must also be resolved.

"Along with our Egyptian friends, we consider it very regrettable that another UN decision on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East cannot be implemented."

He said that Russia and Egypt are actively cooperating to find a solution that would make it possible to implement that long-standing agreement.

In Libya, said Lavrov,

"We have a close, in fact, identical understanding of the need to prevent the isolation of any Libyan politicians, key figures, or tribal leaders from the process that should lead to restoring Libyan statehood."

Asked if there were progress in building the nuclear power plant in El Dabaa in Egypt, and other big projects, Lavrov said,

"The contract was signed in December last year. Another three contracts are near completion, and their signature will make it possible to start actual construction. We have many other big projects... I hope that the upcoming meeting of the Joint Russian-Egyptian Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation in September will enable us to make progress on this matter. The project in question proposes establishing an industrial zone along the banks of the Suez Canal, with Russian participation. I hope that consultations will begin the next two-three months, followed by full-fledged negotiations between the EAEU and Egypt on the possibility of establishing a free trade zone."