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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to arrive in Egypt

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to arrive in Egypt

AP Photo Thomas Hartwell
Photo: AP/Thomas Hartwell

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will arrive in Cairo today to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Lavrov is expected to discuss trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian issues with his counterpart in accordance with the 2018 Russia-Egypt Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation agreement. He is also expected to discuss the ongoing civil war in Libya. Russia and Egypt both have backed Libyan military strongman General Khalifa Haftar in the conflict. Egypt has yet to deploy troops to Libya, but in July of 2020, the Egyptian parliament approved President Sisi’s right to deploy troops abroad against “terrorist groups” and “militias”. Russia is directly involved in the conflict through the private military company “Wagner Group”, which has established bases with advanced hardware throughout the state.

Libya, Egypt’s western neighbour, is a strategic access point in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the Sahel region of Africa. Although Egypt is unlikely to deploy troops into Libya without serious cause, Moscow will want to develop bilateral contingency plans with Cairo if an Egyptian deployment does occur. These plans might include allowing Egypt to use Wagner group forward operating bases in case a military conflict breaks out.

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