Roundtable dialogue on “Egypt-Russia Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges”
On July 5, 2021, ECFA held, in cooperation with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), a joint webinar on “Egypt-Russia Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges”, within the framework of the partnership agreement that brings the two institutions together, with the participation of a number of members of the two councils. The dialogue shed light on the current state of the various Egyptian-Russian relations, the prospects for these relations and the challenges they face, as well as the two countries’ visions on regional and international issues, and the policies of non-Arab regional powers (Turkey – Iran – Israel) and the major powers in the Middle East. The webinar also witnessed a presentation of three research papers, which were drafted – from each side – within the framework of a joint project, focusing on the urgent political and security issues that the North African region mainly faces, in an attempt to address them according to sound and accurate mechanisms. These papers tackled the following topics: Political risks and Instability in North Africa: Challenges and Opportunities; Water and Food Sustainability in North Africa; and protracted conflicts and cross-border threats to regional security in North Africa.
The two sides reviewed the developments of bilateral relations in the economic, commercial, scientific and technical fields, in light of the last session of the joint commission, which was held in Moscow on June 22 and 23, 2021 at the expert level, co-headed by the two countries’ Ministers of Trade and Industry. In this context, they emphasized: the importance of Russia benefiting from the industrial zone allocated to it in the Suez Canal economic zone eastern Port Said; the importance of the return of Russian tourists to Egypt; the opportunities available to achieve tripartite cooperation that brings together Egypt, Russia and Africa; and the need to conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union. With regard to political cooperation issues, the Russian side was keen to confirm its interest in Cairo’s consultation with them on issues regarding stability and security in the region, including Libya and Syria, and the situation in the Gulf and in the East Mediterranean, especially in the Libyan crisis, giving the other parties involved in this file indications that the role of the two countries in this file is positive and influential, without harming Turkey.
In this context, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of information technology, cyber security, space, counter-terrorism, health, food security and related industries. It was also agreed that the two councils would repeat the experience of drafting research papers, so that the next research project would be on “Egyptian-Russian cooperation in Africa”, with the aim of exploring opportunities available to enhance Egyptian-Russian bilateral cooperation in Africa.