El-Sisi confident Russian flights will resume ‘soon’ to Egyptian resort cities

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech during a session at the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, in Moscow, Russia October 16, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 17 October 2018
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El-Sisi confident Russian flights will resume ‘soon’ to Egyptian resort cities

  • “I am confident that given the positive spirit between the two countries, direct flights to other Egyptian cities will resume,” Sisi said
  • El-Sisi also hailed Egypt’s diplomatic relations with Russia, which have enjoyed a course of 75 years

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Tuesday he is confident Russia will resume direct flights to Egyptian resorts as he discussed ways to bolster ties with Russian officials and lawmakers.

Addressing the Russian parliament’s upper house, El-Sisi said: “Our efforts to resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow ended in success after the visit by President Putin to Egypt in December 2017.

“I am confident that given the positive spirit between the two countries, direct flights to other Egyptian cities will resume,” the Egyptian president said, emphasizing that restoring the flights was essential for Egypt’s tourism industry.

The highest number of tourists to Egypt annually used to come from Russia before Moscow suspended flights after a bomb planted by the Daesh group brought a Russian passenger plane down over Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board.

Earlier this year, flights between Moscow and Cairo resumed in April after Egyptian officials beefed up airport security.

El-Sisi also hailed Egypt’s diplomatic relations with Russia, which have enjoyed a course of 75 years.

“Russia was the first to help Egypt restore its occupied territories. Egypt also won’t forget Russia’s contribution in its battle for development, as it helped [Egypt] build the high dam and other megaprojects,” he said.

El-Sisi attended meetings in Moscow with top Russian lawmakers and Cabinet ministers, he then met over dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi later in the day.

The two leaders have developed a close personal rapport and sought to expand bilateral ties, which have strengthened considerably over the past few years.

El-Sisi is on his fourth trip to Russia since taking office in 2014, and Putin visited Egypt in 2015 and 2017.

Egypt has signed deals to buy billions of dollars’ worth of Russian weapons, including fighter jets and assault helicopters. When Putin visited Cairo last December, officials signed a deal for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa.


Eastern Libyan forces hand El Sharara oilfield to oil guards

Updated 18 min 33 sec ago
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Eastern Libyan forces hand El Sharara oilfield to oil guards

  • The field, which had been producing about 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), was closed after a group of state guards and tribesmen seized it
  • Libyan forces loyal to a commander based in the east of the politically divided nation took control of the field last week

BENGHAZI, Libya: Eastern Libyan forces handed over control of the El Sharara oilfield to an oil security force, officials said on Tuesday, in a bid to encourage state oil firm NOC to restart production that has been halted since December.
The field, which had been producing about 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), was closed after a group of state guards and tribesmen seized it, making financial and other demand. NOC declared force majeure, a waiver on its contracts.
NOC, based in Tripoli, in the west of Libya where the internationally recognized government is based, has said it will not reopen the field without a new security arrangement and once other conditions are met, such as ensuring its workers are safe.
Libyan forces loyal to a commander based in the east of the politically divided nation took control of the field last week, after holding negotiations with the state guards and tribesmen.
“We call on NOC to lift force majeure,” Naji Al-Maghrabi, the eastern-based commander of the state oil guards which were appointed to protect the field, said in a statement posted online.
A spokesman for the eastern military confirmed the handing over of the field to the oil force.
There was no immediate comment from NOC.
It was not immediately clear if handing over security to security guards under the control of an eastern-based commander would meet NOC’s demands.
The eastern forces launched an offensive in mid-January to secure the southern oilfields, which include El Sharara.