CAIRO: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key US ally in the Middle East, is to visit Moscow next month for talks with one of the sponsors of the region s moribund peace process.
President Mubarak s visit will deal with international and regional issues of importance to both countries, mainly the Palestinian question, the Lebanese crisis, Iran s nuclear file and the situations in Iraq and Darfur, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said in a statement.
Russia is one of the so-called quartet of sponsors of the peace process with the European Union, the United Nations and the United States.
But it has distanced itself from a Western boycott of the Islamist-led Palestinian government and hosted representatives of the now ruling Hamas movement after its upset parliamentary election victory in January.
Abul Gheit said Mubarak would also sign a series of agreements during his Nov. 1-3 visit.
Memorandums of agreement will be signed in the fields of agriculture, tourism, banking, as well cooperation between the ministries of justice of both countries, he said.
Egypt and Russia have seen tangible developments in cooperation in the fields of energy, petrol, gas and mineral wealth in recent years.
Egypt s bilateral trade with Russia stands at around $1.2 billion, with the balance heavily in Russia s favour.
President Vladimir Putin last year became the first Russian leader to visit Egypt in some 40 years. Egypt was a key Cold War ally of the then Soviet Union until then president Anwar Sadat changed sides in the mid-1970s.
Mubarak will head on from Moscow to Beijing, where he is due to attend a Nov. 4-5 Chinese-African summit before paying an official visit the next two days.