CAIRO, April 15 Egypt's Islamist President
Mohamed Mursi will seek oil, gas and grain silos when he visits
Russia this week in a bid to revive cooperation that flourished
in the Soviet era, officials said.
The official newspaper of the governing Freedom and Justice
Party said Mursi would travel to Moscow on Friday for talks with
President Vladimir Putin on closer economic cooperation and
efforts to end the civil war in Syria.
Egypt is seeking financial support, food and energy supplies
on concessionary terms from a range of friends and allies to
ease an economic crisis that has deepened since the uprising
that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Mursi's top foreign affairs adviser, Essam Haddad, had three
days of preparatory talks in Moscow last week and said in a
statement he reached agreement on strengthening cooperation in
the oil and gas industries.
They also agreed that Russian companies would participate in
rail and metro projects, build wheat storage silos in Egypt and
revive strategic industries in which the former Soviet Union
played a key role such as steel, aluminium, turbines and
electricity, the statement said.
In the heyday of Soviet-Egyptian friendship in the 1950s and
1960s, Moscow helped build the vital Aswan Dam that controls the
Nile River in Upper Egypt.
The late President Anwar al-Sadat expelled Soviet military
advisers in 1972 when he turned towards the West before
embarking on a peace process with Israel.
Egypt secured $5 billion euros in stopgap financial support
last week from Arab allies Qatar and Libya.
However, talks with the International Monetary Fund on a
$4.8 billion loan are dragging on without agreement because
Cairo is balking at cutting costly fuel subsidies and raising
sales taxes, diplomats said.
On Syria, Egypt is trying to broker a negotiated transition
to a democratic government without President Bashar al-Assad,
but Russia remains Syria's biggest arms supplier and diplomatic
protector at the United Nations, vetoing Security Council
resolutions that would sanction on Damascus.
(Additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Writing by Paul Taylor)