Egypt denies talks with Russia over military base

Monday 10-10-2016 04:17 PM

Egypt receives the Molinya RKA 32 class missile vessel from Russia on Aug. 4, 2016 - Photo from the armed forces

CAIRO, Oct. 10 (Aswat Masriya) – The Egyptian presidency denied reports that Egypt may lease a military base to Russia, in statements to al-Ahram, after a Russian newspaper reported that both countries are in talks to open an airbase in Egypt. 

On Monday, daily Russian newspaper Izvestia reported that both countries are in negotiations over the possible leasing military facilities, including restoring the former Soviet air force base in the Mediterranean city of Sidi Barrani.

The newspaper quoted diplomatic and military sources, who said that if both parties agree to the terms, the base may become operational in 2019.

Presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef denied any possibility of opening foreign military bases on Egyptian coasts, al-Ahram reported.

The Soviet Union operated a naval facility near Sidi Barrani until 1972, which was used to monitor US naval forces deployed to the region.

Russia and Egypt have been keen on maintaining bilateral relations, amid ongoing military cooperation between both countries.

Since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt’s military has resorted to signing military deals with Russia, France and Germany, moving away from US-made weaponry.

Last month, Egypt received an offensive missile corvette as a gift from Russia. In May, Sisi also approved a $25 billion loan from Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa. The deal was described by Sergey Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, as the "largest Russian-Egyptian project since the Aswan Dam."

The deal came after a Metrojet Russian airliner crashed in Egypt shortly after it took off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board.

The Kremlin had later concluded that a terrorist attack was the reason for the crash.

Moscow had since suspended all flights to Egypt.

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