Egypt completed $2 billion arms deal with Russia funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON, The Jerusalem Post


Egypt completed a $2 billion arms deal with Russia and financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, an Egyptian newspaper reported on Friday.

The Egyptian and Russian governments agreed to the details in recent weeks, a senior official told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Discussions with the Russians to purchase advanced weapons systems date back to November 2013 when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Cairo for talks.

Egypt’s moves to improve relations with Russia are seen as a way to counter the threat of US pressure. The US partial aid freeze was largely seen to be a punishment for the military coup and crackdown on former president Mohamed Morsi and his supporters.

Congress has moved to unfreeze aid to Egypt in 2014, but it still is unclear how it will play out.

The Saudis and other Gulf states have been supporting the military-backed interim government that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi met last week in Saudi Arabia with the country’s Defense Minister, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz.

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