Presidential visit to Egypt was long prepared and premeditated. Putin has met Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi twice before on the Russian soil. Then came long period of debates and discussions about common paths of collaboration, which were held both on Cairo and Moscow conferences. At last they met in Cairo. What’s signed, what’s decided and what it will change in Middle East landscape?
Both leaders share very pragmatic point of view: the common business will flourish if it will be mutually profitable. Russia counter-stands high pressure of imposed sanctions, and needs a maneuver space for international politics. Federation needs ways to rebuild their consumer inflows, for example in the produce market segment. By buying Egyptian produce Russian Federation shifts the ties to Middle East. Egypt, meanwhile, is interested in getting:
- natural gas and exploration experience
- weapon systems
- sources of energy for power-hungry economy
- last, but not least – Russian tourists inflow
All these topics were discussed and some important contracts signed during this visit.
Aswan dam was built by Russian engineers during the friendliest time of Egypt-Russian relations. Memorial in Aswan bears the Russian and Arabic phrase about friendship between Egyptian and Russian people. After the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser, however, all cooperation was ceased and the country has been set on the purely pro-American way. Moubarak was a US proxy. Morsi attempted to cooperate with Russia but was met with caution. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was first Egyptian president who was met with openly friendly gestures from Russia. President Putin praised his effort to bring Egypt on the path of stability and prosperity.
Let’s get back to Aswan dam. When it was built Egypt got a surplus of energy. Now the capacity of Aswan dam is depleted. As any Egyptian know, the country is in power hunger. Shortages of electricity is common for the cities and towns in Egypt. Rapid growth of population and industrial progress is impossible without eliminating this bottleneck.
The only major way to get power in Egypt is to build nuclear station. Solar power is expensive. Hydro power is limited by the current power output. The current way of solving the problem by burning oil and gas is at least unwise. So there is no alternative to nuclear energy.
Presidents cleared the way to construct the plant. However there is no details about the plan right now. Construction of the nuclear objects of such scale requires long planing and preliminary research. By signing the undisclosed contract Putin and el-Sisi started a new era of Egyptian power industry. We will closely follow the progress of the deal.