Egypt FM in Russia with 'certain message' from US for Lavrov

Egypt FM in Russia with 'certain message' from US for Lavrov
Egypt and Russia have grown closer since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi became president in 2014.
3 min read
31 January, 2023
Shoukry and Lavrov met on Tuesday and discussed the Ukraine war [Getty]

Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry flew to Moscow on Thursday night with a message for his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the war in Ukraine.

Lavrov said Shoukry had a "certain message" from Blinken, who the Egyptian FM had met hours earlier, and although Russia was "always ready to listen", he believed the latest initiative to end the war in Ukraine was nothing new.

"We are open to any serious proposal for a settlement in Ukraine. But, I emphasise: the word 'serious' means it includes all aspects of the issue," Lavrov said, according to Ahram Online.

He said Blinken's offer was "incomplete" and called for "a complete message" to be sent.

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"In this sense, we once again heard the message through the minister that 'Russia must stop', 'Russia must leave', and then everything will be fine," Lavrov said, according to Ukrainian media.

It follows rounds of talks in Cairo between Shoukry, Sisi, and Blinken, where Ukraine and Palestine were discussed.

Shoukry said Egypt will continue to seek a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, sparked by Russia's invasion of the country in February 2022.

"Like the entire international community, Egypt is interested in putting an end to the armed confrontation in Ukraine and reaching a final settlement of the conflict as soon as possible. The same can be said about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," said Shoukry at the press conference on Tuesday with Lavrov.

"We are interested in the earliest possible settlement. We understand that the basis for this is the inadmissibility of escalation on both sides... Egypt will continue its efforts in seeking diplomatic solutions to this crisis."

Relations between Egypt and Russia have dramatically improved since the installment of retired general Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as president in 2014, which has included weapons sales, despite the US providing Cairo with millions in military aid.

Egypt is also highly reliant on importing wheat from Russia and Ukraine, which was massively affected by the outbreak of war, sending bread prices - a staple in the country - skywards.

Egyptian media reported earlier this week that Russia delivered 42,000 tonnes of wheat on a ship, while Blinken said the US is working to increase domestic wheat production in Egypt.

Shoukry also spoke with Lavrov about efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks, which comes amid a bloody assault by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank leading to the killing of 35 Palestinians so far this year.

He said Egypt would continue to push for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Lavrov called for the resumption of the Quartet of the Middle East - the EU, UN, US, and Russia - for talks on resolving the crisis in the occupied West Bank.

"So far, unfortunately, there has been no progress in this area," he said, according to Russia's TASS news agency.