MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will supply modern weaponry to Egypt, provided that Cairo is able to finance the purchases, a high-ranking official at Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said Friday.
Rumors about Egypt turning toward Russia for military assistance to meet its security needs, following the partial suspension of military aid and equipment deliveries from the United States, have been circulating in the media since last week.
Various reports indicated that Egypt is considering spending at least $4 billion on advanced weaponry from Russia.
“We are ready to negotiate with the Egyptian side the possibility of deliveries of new weaponry as well as repairing equipment supplied in Soviet times,” the Rosoboronexport official told RIA Novosti.
He said such new deliveries would depend on Egypt’s ability to pay for them. But he noted, “Moscow is ready to discuss with Cairo a possible loan to that country.”
He spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier Friday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with their Egyptian counterparts during their visit to Egypt on November 13-14.
The Russian delegation will include the first deputy director of the Federal Service on Military-Technical Cooperation, Andrei Boitsov, and Rosoboronexport officials.
“The upcoming visit will help us to outline the prospects of our [defense] cooperation,” the Rosoboronexport source said.
For Moscow, the renewal of military ties with Egypt could signify a return in force to the Middle East while US diplomacy is failing all over the region.
The Soviet Union and Egypt enjoyed close ties during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the Arab country was led by Abdel Nasser. Cairo purchased a variety of Soviet-made military equipment, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and fighter jets under Nasser.
But within years after Nasser’s death, the new president Anwar Sadat started reorienting the country toward the West and expelled about 20,000 Russian military advisers stationed in Egypt in July 1972.
Egypt has never acquired Russian weapons since then.
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