CAIRO — Egypt, in wake of a suspension of U.S. military aid, has turned to Russia for enhanced defense and intelligence cooperation.
Officials said Egypt and Russia have been conducting a high-level military dialogue amid the crisis with the United States.
Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Sisi.
The officials said Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Sisi was mulling Russian offers of defense and military cooperation.
“Russia has always tried to sell Egypt advanced systems, but this might be more realistic given current circumstances,” an official said.
On Oct. 28, Russian military intelligence chief Gen. Vacheslav Kondrasco arrived in Cairo for what officials said marked an effort to renew a strategic dialogue between the Kremlin and Egypt.
Officials said Kondrasco was discussing Egypt’s military requirements and the prospect of Russian arms sales. Russia was the leading military supplier to Egypt in the 1960s and 1970s.
The visit by Kondrasco came in wake of the U.S. suspension of major arms
sales to Egypt. Under the suspension, Egypt saw a halt to the U.S. delivery
of F-16 multi-role fighters, AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters and
M1A1 main battle tanks.
“The visit does not mean that Egypt no longer wants U.S. or Western
cooperation,” the official said.
Officials said Egypt, which received $1.3 billion in annual U.S.
military aid, has expressed interest in cooperation with Moscow. They cited
joint defense production, military exercises and intelligence exchange.
Kondrasco was said to have met Sisi as well as Chief of Staff Gen. Sidqi
Sobhi. Officials said both countries regarded the visit as having strategic
implications for Egypt