Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Cairo for talks Sunday with Egyptian officials as his country seeks to break diplomatic isolation and sanctions by the west over its invasion of Ukraine.
Lavrov landed in Cairo late Saturday, the first leg of his Africa trip that will also include stops in Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Russia’s state-run RT.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry was holding talks with Lavrov Sunday morning.
The Russian chief diplomat was scheduled to meet later Sunday with the Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. He will also address the permanent representatives of the pan-Arab organization, RT reported.
Egypt, the Arab World’s most populous country, refused to take sides since the war in Ukraine began in February as it maintains close ties with both Moscow and the west. Egypt is among the world’s largest importers of wheat, with much of that from Russia and Ukraine.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has cultivated a close personal rapport with Russia President Vladimir Putin. Both leaders have strengthened bilateral ties considerably in the past few years.
Lavrov’s visit to Cairo came as Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, began last week the construction of a four-reactor power plant it is building in Egypt.