Russia and Egypt have signed an agreement on the development of a nuclear power plant in the African country. The accord between Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and Egypt's Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy was signed during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, on Tuesday. At a joint press conference following a meeting of the two leaders, the Egyptian head of state said the nuclear power plant would be constructed in Dabaa in northwest Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. "This is comprehensive cooperation. Moreover, it presumes that Russia will also provide relevant financial support in the form of an intergovernmental loan," said Rosatom’s chief, Sergei Kiriyenko.
The foundation of the power plant was laid during the rule of ousted president, Hosni Mubarak. A 2011 uprising ended his decades-long rule in Egypt. "Mr. President and I held constructive and substantial talks and continued the exchange of views started in Sochi last year over the whole spectrum of the Russian-Egyptian relations and the key regional and international issues," Putin said after the bilateral talks, adding, "Russia intends to remain a reliable partner and friend of Egypt."
"I am certain that today's visit will give a good impetus to the development of our relations," Putin further noted. Russian delegates, headed by Putin, arrived in the Egyptian capital to hold talks with their Egyptian counterparts on Monday and were greeted by Sisi at Cairo International Airport. Putin said during an interview with Egypt’s al-Ahram daily newspaper on the same day that Moscow and Cairo may soon abandon the US dollar in bilateral trade and use their national currencies instead. The Russian leader added that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to more than USD 4.5 billion, a figure nearly 50 percent up from the previous year.
Russia is one of the main non-Arab supporters of Sisi’s government and was among the first countries to endorse Sisi’s presidential bid in 2014. Sisi visited Moscow soon after the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a military coup in July 2013. He made another visit to the European country in August 2014 after he won the Egyptian presidential election.