Source Pravda.Ru

Putin, Mubarak to negotiate in the Kremlin today

President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt are to negotiate here today, discussing more active Russian-Egyptian economic interaction. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti here today by a source inside the Russian President's administration.

In his words, the 2003 Russian-Egyptian trade turnover stood at $416 million, exceeding the $700-million mark, if we heed the tourist industry. Consequently, Egypt has become Russia's leading Mideastern and African partner.

Hosni Mubarak's Russian visit will make it possible to facilitate subsequent active multi-faceted bilateral cooperation, including enhanced trade-and-economic ties, Kremlin people believe.

This also concerns expanded science-and-technological contacts, as well as those in the field of science, education and culture.

Hosni Mubarak's second official Russian visit in the last three years highlights the intensive nature of Russian-Egyptian dialogue, top-level dialogue included, as well as a mutual striving to impart an additional impulse to mutually-advantageous interaction, Kremlin officials say.

The Russian commerce-and-industry chamber hosted a Russian-Egyptian business forum May 27, with those present discussing bilateral economic cooperation.

Egypt received more Russian tourists than any other country of the world throughout the January-April 2004 period, even surging ahead of Turkey, Georgy Petrov, vice-president of the Commerce and Industry chamber, noted.

More than 500,000 Russian tourists had visited Egypt over the entire 2003 period, with that country receiving 383,000 people in 2002, the Commerce and Industry chamber estimates.

Addressing the business forum, Yevgeny Primakov, president of the Russian Commerce and Industry chamber, noted that the current state of Russian-Egyptian economic ties still left a lot to be desired, especially if we recall their state in the 1960s and subsequent years of the 20th century.

According to the national Commerce and Industry chamber, 97 industrial facilities had been built in Egypt with Soviet assistance; many of them, the Aswan dam, first and foremost, continue to play the lead in Egypt's economy.

An agreement between Russia's Commerce and Industry chamber and the federation of Egyptian chambers of commerce signed a cooperation agreement during the business forum; that document stipulates business-information exchanges. Moreover, the Russian-Arab business council and the federation of Egyptian chambers of commerce, inked an agreement on establishing a bilateral Russian-Egyptian committee.

Talking to RIA Novosti, officials at Russia's Commerce and Industry chamber noted that Russian companies were implementing some rather ambitious projects on Egyptian territory over the last few years. Among other things, Russia's Siloviye Mashiny (Power-Industry Equipment) concern had teamed up with a German company last year, winning a tender for the reconstruction of 12 generators at the Aswan hydro-electric station.

Russia's Aviastar company and Sirocco Aerospace International of Egypt are jointly financing production of 200 Tu-204 jetliners.

The LUKoil company continues to enhance its positions on the Egyptian hydrocarbon market, obtaining the right to develop two deposits near the Suez canal last year. LUKoil can channel some $400 million into Egyptian oil projects, top corporate managers say.

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