Cairo seeking diverse partner with Russia

Nov. 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM

CAIRO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Thursday a visit to Cairo by his Russian counterparts was a historic moment in bilateral strategic affairs.

"I have visited Moscow and we are today witnessing a historic visit by Russia's defense and foreign ministers to Egypt," he was quoted as saying by Egyptian news service Ahram Online.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov led a delegation to Egypt Wednesday. Lavrov said he was eager to strengthen bilateral ties to Egypt but wasn't looking to replace any other country as a strategic partner to Egypt.

Washington in October decided to suspend some military aid to Egypt and to cut $260 million in direct funding for the Egyptian military in response to violence that erupted in the wake of the July ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The Egyptian government was accused of using military equipment to suppress its opponents through the use of force.

Fahmy was quoted as saying the Egyptian government was looking to "diversify its options."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki brushed off questions on a possible Russian military sale to the Egyptians.

"We have our own bilateral relationship with Egypt," she said during her regular press briefing Wednesday.

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