Morsy to visit Russia Thursday

President Mohamed Morsy is heading to Russia on Thursday, marking the first official visit of an elected Egyptian president.

He will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coastal city of Sochi, where they will discuss the latest regional and international developments and touch upon bilateral relations.

Diplomatic sources said the visit is of particular importance as it confirms Egypt’s increasing regional and international weight.

The sources also said that strengthening cooperation between Egypt and Russia will be the main focus of the visit, particularly in the investment and tourism sectors.

Morsy and Putin will also discuss the ongoing Syria conflict and ways to stop the bloodshed without internal interference. The two will also touch upon Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

The source also said it would discuss the trade balance between the two countries, which amounted to US3.5 billion in 2012, and will discuss possible Russian renovation of factories it helped Egypt build in the 1960s. Russia also helped renovate the turbines of the Aswan High Dam in 2009.

Another topic on the agenda will be wheat and corn imports, as Russia is one of the largest grain producers in the world. Egypt wants to discuss ways to remove obstacles that hinder further imports from Russia.

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