Egypt, Russia to hold joint military exercises in mid-October

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s armed forces will hold joint military exercises with their Russian counterparts on Egyptian soil for the first time from Oct. 15-26, Cairo’s military spokesman said on Wednesday.

Days ago Egypt backed a Russian resolution in the U.N. Security Council on Syria that removed the demand for an end to air strikes on Aleppo stipulated in an alternative French resolution.

Both resolutions failed to pass but Egypt’s support for the Russian measure put the North African country at odds with its key financial backer, Saudi Arabia, which has opposed Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The joint military training will include drills between Egyptian and Russian paratrooper units in the northwestern region of el-Alamein, Egyptian military spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said in a statement posted on the Egyptian military’s official Facebook page.

Russia’s Izvestia newspaper said Moscow was in talks to open an air base in Egypt, though Egypt’s official Al Ahram newspaper quoted the presidential spokesman on Tuesday saying it would not allow foreign bases on its land.

Egypt is negotiating with Russia to restore flights to its Red Sea resorts, a year after the bombing of a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers back to St Petersburg.

Egypt is keen to restore tourism, a key earner of hard currency, which has been in decline since the 2011 uprising ushered in a period of political instability.

Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Eric Knecht and Lin Noueihed; editing by John Stonestreet