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Is Russia taking over the US role in the Middle East?
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Thursday’s visit by Russian officials to Egypt has triggered talk of a new era of defence cooperation between Moscow and Cairo.

To shed more light on the visit, our correspondent in the Egyptian capital, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, talked to political analyst Samir Ghattas.

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews: “What is the significance of this visit to Egypt, involving both military and diplomatic officials from Moscow, at this particular time?”

Samir Ghattas: “The policies of the United States have caused serious unease and confusion in the Middle East and in Egypt in particular, especially after the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime. That led to new policies from the US towards Egypt like pressure on the army and reducing economic and military aid after a while.

“As a result, Egypt has sought out new relations or to be more precise, revived its old relations with different regions of the world, especially with the Russian Federation and maybe later with China, India and other rising powers.

“I suspect that there is also a need to develop economic relations between the two countries, given that Russia is a big exporter of wheat, which Egypt desperately needs.”

euronews: “Why is this new situation, after years of frosty relations between Russia and Egypt, not being considered as Moscow taking Washington’s place?”

Samir Ghattas: “I don’t think it could go as far as sharing functional, divisional roles because Moscow and Washington have totally different interests in the Middle East. The United States won’t allow Russia to establish itself again in this region. But if Russia, which already has a strong presence in Syria and close relations with Iran, nurtures its ability to invest in relations with Egypt, well perhaps that could lead to a new era between Moscow and the Middle East.”

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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