“I am ready to continue working with you to strengthen Russian-Egyptian relations”, wrote Russian President Vladimir Putin in a congratulatory letter to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on the occasion of his inauguration as Egypt’s sixth president.
Putin wrote: “I take this opportunity to confirm my invitation to you to visit Russia soon. The dates can be settled through diplomatic channels.”
Al-Sisi last visited Russia when he was serving as interim defence minister in February, where he met Putin. The Russian president said at the time that he supported Al-Sisi’s decision to run for president despite the latter having not officially announced his intention to do so.
The Russian Presidency released part of the letter sent to Al-Sisi on Sunday. Putin said: “Your convincing victory in the election is evidence of the considerable respect you have acquired in Egyptian society.” Putin had already congratulated Al-Sisi on his landslide electoral victory before the results had been officially announced.
“I value the constructive dialogue that we have established and the high level of trust and mutual understanding that distinguish it,” wrote Putin. He added: “Our ties go back a long way and I am sure they have a bright future ahead.”
Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia was surrounded by speculation over an alleged arms deal, said to be worth $3bn, which was thought to have been a product of the visit of the Russian foreign and defence ministers last November. Egypt’s foreign ministry has denied any deal had been signed but that “everything is possible”.
Putin pointed out that Egypt and Russia already work together on regional and international issues. He highlighted that this cooperation “is fully in the interests of guaranteeing security in North Africa and the Middle East… to neutralise common threats and challenges.” Putin added that he was confident Al-Sisi would “pursue an active policy on the international stage and consolidate its leading role in the Arab and Muslim world and on the African continent”.