February 13, 2014 - 16:19 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Egypt’s military chief met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Feb 13, marking his first foreign trip amid reports on imminent military deal.
Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Moscow points to a potential pivot toward Russia by Egypt – traditionally a stalwart U.S. ally – that could dramatically reorient international relations in the Middle East, RIA Novosti reports.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said talks with el-Sisi served to cement plans to strengthen military ties.
El-Sisi has taken a firm grip over the country since the ouster of Islamist former President Mohammed Morsi in July. The violent crackdown unleashed by the el-Sisi government has provoked a cooling in relations with Washington, which announced in October that it would slash longstanding military aid to Cairo.
U.S. officials say aid cuts included halting shipments of F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, M1A1 tanks and advanced anti-ship missiles.
Egypt’s government-controlled Al-Ahram newspaper reported Wednesday, citing unnamed defense officials, that the purpose of el-Sisi’s visit was to finalize an arms deal worth up to $4 billion that was originally proposed during a November meeting with Russian officials in Cairo.