Media: “Egypt Eyeing $4Bn Arms Deal with Russia”

Agence France Presse (AFP)13.11.2013 Egypt
Media: “Egypt Eyeing $4Bn Arms Deal with Russia”

Media: “Egypt Eyeing $4Bn Arms Deal with Russia”

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Egypt is considering spending up to $4 billion on advanced weaponry from Russia following the partial suspension of military aid and equipment deliveries from the United States, a Palestinian online newspaper said.

According to Donia Al-Watan, Moscow has offered Cairo “a historic deal giving Egypt an option to buy the most advanced weaponry without any restrictions.”

The sources cited by Donia Al-Watan, an independent Palestine territory-based online news outlet, claim that an undisclosed Persian Gulf country had agreed to provide financing.

The report came on few days before a visit to Egypt by a Russian military delegation led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The Russian delegation included the First Deputy Director of the Federal Service on Military-Technical Cooperation, Andrei Boitsov, and officials from state-arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

Rumors about Egypt turning toward Russia for military assistance to meet its security needs have been circulating in the media since last week and intensified around a recent visit to Egypt by US Secretary of State John Kerry, which has been widely considered an attempt to mend weakening bilateral ties and prevent potential military deals with Russia.

The Obama administration announced on October 9 that it had decided to “hold the delivery of certain large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the Egyptian government pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections.”

According to US officials, the suspended aid included the delivery of 4 F-16 fighter jets, 10 Apache helicopters, M1A1 tank kits and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The announcement, as well as the US backing of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, has angered the current Egyptian authorities, prompting interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy to call US-Egyptian relations “turbulent” and “unsettled.”

Sources cited by Donia Al-Watan said Kerry had offered Egypt to restore all elements of the military aid, worth 1.5 billion annually, and “bring bilateral relations to the previous level,” but Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi rejected all US proposals.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday relations with the United States have improved with Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit.

But Fahmy said that Egypt is taking a more “independent” approach and broadening its choices.

“Independence is having choices. So the objective of this foreign policy is to provide Egypt with choices, more choices. So I'm not going to substitute. I'm going to add,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with AFP.

“I see this as a beginning of a new phase,” he said.
Source: AFP
 

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