17 Mar 2016

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry: We have fulfilled all necessary requirements for resumption of air traffic with Russia

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has given an interview to Interfax after this talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which he speaks about prospects for resumption of air communication with Russia, the investigation of the A321 tragedy and Russian-Indian cooperation in the military and technological cooperation.

Question: Mr. Minister, you have said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that direct air communication between our countries can be resumed. May this happen by early May?

Anwser: I have no specific indication of when Russian decisions may be taken. But I‘m hopeful that the decision will be taken sooner rather than later in recognition of importance that tourism represents to Egypt. Egypt recognizes the importance of safeguarding tourists and safety of Russian tourists. As far as I‘m concerned I would like it to be resumed tomorrow, but that is a decision for the Russian government to make. We are facilitating in every way possible by cooperating with experts from the Russian Federation those who have come. We have implemented the recommendations that have been made, and we believe that we have fulfilled all necessary requirements. The work is in progress, of course. There will be additional steps taken, that must be put in place. They relate to the purchase of equipment, the training of personnel, but these issues will go on and on and on. They are not limited to any specific timeframe. So we believe that currently we have provided a sufficient degree of security that can be conducive to the resumption of as soon as possible Russian tourism.

Question: How has the investigation of Russia‘s A321 tragedy been moving forward? Is there, at least, a suspect in mind, or any idea as to who may have masterminded and perpetrated it? It was stated in the preliminary report from Egyptian investigators that the tragedy was not a terrorist attack…

Anwser: There is no preliminary report. The investigation is continuing. This is an international investigation, by Egyptian, Russian, German, French and Irish investigators. It has two components - the technical component and the potential criminal activity. There is no conclusion yet. There is still analysis to be undertaken and various investigations, and when the investigations are completed, the answer will of course be provided in a transparent manner.

Q.: When investigation results may be published? Is there any timetable?

A.: I have no specific timetable. I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Q.: Does President as-Sisi plans to Moscow or any other city in Russia? If yes, when such a visit may take place? Has Russia and Egypt already started working on such a visit?

A.: President as-Sisi has already Moscow two times, and President Putin visited Putin Cairo. There are no specific plans a visit of as-Sisi to Moscow, but he is always in communication with President Putin. Most recently they were in communication by telephone, and when they meet in various locations, they are eager to engage so as to further promote bilateral relations between our countries.

Q.: Does Egypt plan to buy on-deck versions of Ka-52 helicopters for Mistrales? Will Egypt buy equipment, that was removed from Misrales, from Russia? Are there negotiations on this issue?

A.: One of the important aspects of our cooperation has also been cooperation in the military field, in military purchases, and we continue to explore various opportunities to enhance Egypt‘s capabilities and to also provide cooperation and benefit to Russian industries.