Military Chief in Egypt Makes Rare Visit to Moscow

On Wednesday, the army chief in Egypt left for Moscow for the first visit he has made outside Egypt since the military ousted former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Rumors are swirling that the two countries are negotiating an arms deal worth $2 billion that would expand significantly the influence of Russia with one of the key allies of the U.S. in the region.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian Field Marshall was scheduled to meet in Moscow with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The two were scheduled to have a joint press conference, said MENA the state’s official news agency.

According to Al-Ahram, the state owned newspaper; el-Sissi is visiting Russia to conclude the arms deal worth $2 billion that is funded for the most part by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

El-Sissi’s visit comes about three months following the visit of Sergey Lavrov the Foreign Minister of Russia and Sergei Shogiu the Defense Minister’s visit to Cairo.

Moscow has attempted to expand its influence with Egypt since relations between the U.S. and Egypt soured during the aftermath of the ouster of Morsi last July and the crackdown that followed on the Islamist supporters of Morsi that left hundreds dead and thousands more arrested.

The U.S. has been the chief foreign supporter of Cairo since the 1970s.

Field Marshall el-Sissi, who was in charge during Morsi’s overthrow following days of street protests across the nation, is expected by most to announce his run for the Egyptian presidency in elections that likely will take place late in April.

The military head has become very popular amongst a broad group of Egyptians who look at him as the savior of the country after the rule of one year of Morsi. Morsi faces a number of allegations that his Muslim Brotherhood and he were abusing power.

Countries in the Arab Gulf have thrown weight behind the military of Egypt and the potential candidacy of el-Sissi in what many analysts have said is to compensate for the gradual pull back of support from the U.S. for its longtime ally.

Nabil Fahmy, the Foreign Minister of Egypt accompanied el-Sissi to Moscow.


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