CAIRO – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry ended a three-day visit to Moscow on October 5.
Analysts say the trip was aimed at recalibrating Egypt’s relations with Russia without disrupting vital relations with Washington, given important deals Egypt made with the United States during the security adviser’s visit. National White House Jake Sullivan in Cairo late last year. month.
Thanks to Shoukry’s visit to Moscow, Egypt has attempted to push back against speculation that Cairo is fully aligning its policies with those of Washington and is prepared to jeopardize its growing cooperation with Russia.
Analysts say Egypt is trying to maintain a delicate balance in its relations with the two powers. They see Jake Sullivan’s visit to Cairo as having established a central strategic framework where Egypt and the United States agree on a number of issues. Sullivan’s talks in Egypt may create regional ripples especially as the senior US official has stressed his country’s understanding of Cairo’s position in the crises over the Libyan conflict and the Renaissance barrage.
Egyptian positions have so far seemed much closer to Moscow in these two crises as evidenced by recent statements by Shoukry and reinforced by his meetings with senior Russian officials. Egypt sees past ambiguities in its relations with Russia dissipating.
Hussein Haridi, member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, told The Arab Weekly that “Cairo is moving away from any dispute that threatens its interests with the two powers.”
Former Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Mohamed Hegazy told The Arab Weekly that shared regional concerns “allow for a long-term relationship with the two, as Egypt shares opinion with Washington and Moscow. that it is necessary to contain hostile interference in the region and dismantle the armed militias in Libya. This meets the objectives of the two powers in the search for stability in the Middle East “.
He added that Egypt won the support of Moscow and Washington in the Renaissance Dam crisis, which culminated in an important statement released by the UN Security Council last month.
A number of Russian initiatives had given the impression that Moscow was siding with Ethiopia on the Renaissance Dam issue, which annoyed some political circles in Cairo, who thought Moscow could play a more role. constructive and more favorable to Egypt.
In addition, Russia’s policy in Libya did not reflect much coordination with Egypt, which avoided any clashes with Moscow but was unhappy with Russia’s tendency to engage with Turkey, in particular. on the issues of mercenaries and foreign forces stationed in Libya.
The two countries maintain an armed presence in the North African country. Turkish troops and mercenaries are deployed in northwest Libya and support Islamist forces and the government of national unity in Tripoli, while forces affiliated with the Russian group Wagner are located in the east and south of Libya and support the forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
A statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Shoukry expressed to Moscow his satisfaction at the great momentum in bilateral relations and stressed the importance of continuing political consultation and coordination between the two countries.
Shoukry discussed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the preservation of the stability and unity of Libya, the activation of the roadmap for the settlements, the work for the exit of foreign forces and mercenaries and holding the next elections on time. He added that Russia “understands” his country’s interest in the Renaissance Dam issue.
Relations between Cairo and Moscow have been strengthened, in particular with cooperation in the construction of the El-Dabaa nuclear project in north-western Egypt and the recent resumption of Russian tourist flights to Sharm el- Sheikh and Hurghada after a long suspension following the Russian plane tackled by terrorists. crash in the Sinai desert six years ago.
An Egyptian political source told The Arab Weekly that âthe balance of external tendencies is now one of the pillars of Cairo politics. Faced with the uncertainties hanging over regional and international issues, Egypt is keen not to rush behind the United States or Russia.
The same source believes that the increasingly intertwined political, military and economic factors at play make it difficult for Egypt to abandon one side in favor of the other. He will seek as much as possible to accommodate the two powers and try to reconcile their points of view in the pursuit of Egypt’s regional and international interests.