Russian minister of defence Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoygu asserted on Monday evening his ministry’s full support of Egypt in combating terrorism in Sinai, according to Russia Today news network. This comes as a part of the remarkably increased bilateral military cooperation between Egypt and Russia.
Shoygu’s statements came during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sedki Sobhi who is heading a high-ranking Egyptian military delegation during an official visit to Russia for the sake of enhancing military cooperation between the two countries.
“Eliminating terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula and in Egypt will not only be beneficial to Egypt, but also for the whole region,” Shoygu said.
Before this, both ministers held a session for the Egyptian–Russian committee for military technical cooperation.
The visit which started on Sunday is scheduled to last for several days and will tackle the strategic cooperation between Egypt and Russia. This will be the third meeting held by the Egyptian-Russian military committee. The first took place in February when a Russian military delegation visited Cairo, and the second meeting was in Russia headed by Ministry of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar.
Egypt is interested in providing its Armed Forces with the latest Russian weaponry and communication systems, Shoygu said during the visit.
“I am delighted to reveal that Egypt is interested in acquiring the latest Russian armament technologies. Evidently, the efficiency of Russian weaponry was apparent during the airstrikes executed by the Russian Air Force in Syria,” Shoygu explained.
Moreover, he referred to the bilateral manoeuvres between Egypt and Russia as a part of their “solid” military cooperation, adding that both countries will execute new manoeuvres in the field of counter-terrorism, Russian government-funded network RT reported.
In the same context, French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned in a seminar held in Paris that Islamic State (IS) fighters may move their stationing points to Egypt and Tunisia, after the siege in Libya.
Le Drian expects that if IS fighters were fully expelled from cities like Sirte and Benghazi, they would redistribute themselves in neighbouring countries including Egypt and Tunisia. The minister called on all nearby countries to seriously face these expected threats.
On the ground, three army conscripts were reportedly killed after being targeted by snipers while serving at army checkpoints in the cities of Rafah and Al-Arish, a North Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt Tuesday on condition of anonymity
Members of the IS-affiliated group “Sinai Province” reported on Twitter that members of the group succeeded in targeting an armoured vehicle using an improvised explosive device (IED) in Al-Arish.
Egypt is showing an interest in activating common production with Russia for the fifth generation of tactic communication systems and military communication stations that are manufactured by Russia.
In previous visits, the two countries signed several agreements for the renovation of military production factories in Egypt. They also agreed on the construction of a joint industrial zone in Suez, along with other agreements in the fields of construction materials and pharmaceuticals.
In light of the military cooperation between Russia and Egypt, Russian airborne forces units will participate in joint Egyptian-Russian drills to combat terrorism. These drills are expected to be held in October.
Egyptian-Russian relations were tense following the Russian Metrojet incident in October 2015, which killed all 224 passengers and crew on board. The incident led to the suspension of direct flights between the two countries.