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article imageOp-Ed: Russia's Putin supports Egypt's General Sisi for president

By Ken Hanly     Feb 13, 2014 in Politics
Cairo - Russian President Putin wished Egyptian army chief Abdel el-Sisi luck should he run for president in upcoming Egyptian elections. Putin said he would support the general for president of Egypt.
According to Russian news reports after talks with the general Putin said: "I know that you, Mr defence minister, have decided to run for president of Egypt, It's a very responsible decision... I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people."
While Sisi has not officially announced that he will run. He has said he would run if there was a public demand and the army's highest council has cleared the way for him to run. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt's highest military body in a statement said: "The council looks with reverence and respect at the desire of the masses of the honourable Egyptian people for the candidacy of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for the presidency," General Sisi led the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in July of 2013, and is defense minister in the interim government, The new constitution calls for an election by mid-April.
The Russian defense and foreign ministers had separate talks with their Egyptian counterparts. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said: "We are closely watching the situation in your country. We are interested in Egypt being a strong and stable country, In the current situation, it is good to adopt a new Egyptian Constitution in a national referendum … We believe your efforts to establish stability in the country are being effective.” Shoigu also said that Russia supported Egypt's fight against terrorism. The Egyptian government and military brands many of its opponent including the banned Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists.
As part of the fight against terrorism it is expected that Egypt will likely develop military ties with Russia and also purchase weapons to diversify its supplies and support, no doubt to the annoyance of the U.S. Shoigu said: “In this regard, we will discuss in some important issues of military and military-technical cooperation, the terms of that and future prospects… We are interested in the development of such cooperation. Cooperation between our countries has deep historical roots,”
Well-informed sources told Al Jazeera that a major weapons deal will be signed during the visit funded mainly by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is angry at the U.S. lack of support for Sisi and the rebels in Syria. Both Russian and Egyptian media carried reports of a $2 billion arms deal. Putin has no qualms about supporting Sisi even though his crackdown on the opposition left hundreds dead and thousands jailed including journalists who have ventured to criticize the regime. Sisi is quite popular in Egypt and no doubt will win the presidency when he runs.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about General Sisi, Egypt Russia relations, Egyptian presidential elections
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