Russia and Egypt have agreed to sign an agreement on military cooperation that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said will define the expanding bilateral defense relations between the two nations “for years to come”, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
The agreement will “determine the vector of our military cooperation for years to come,” Shoigu said.
“The parties agreed to continue the practice of inviting Egyptian military to Russian exercises in the capacity of observers, and also to hold a naval exercise in the Mediterranean this year and an anti-terrorist exercise of rapid reaction forces,” Russia’s Defense ministry said in a statement.
The Russian minister stressed that Egypt was Russia’s leading partner in the Middle East, Russian media reports.
Following the talks, the two nations agreed to hold joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean and an anti-terrorism exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said, according to TASS news agency.
In recent months, ties between Russia and Egypt have soared:
In February, Vladimir Putin said that Russia will help construct “a whole new nuclear power industry” in Egypt.
Also in February, Egypt established a free trade zone with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said during an interview with Egyptian media that Russia and Egypt may soon exclude the U.S. dollar and use their national currencies for the settlement of accounts in bilateral trade.
Russia and Egypt signed weapons deals worth $3.5 billion in September that include the supply of air defense systems, attack helicopters, MiG-29 fighter jets, and anti-tank systems, according to reports.