News / Middle East

Egyptian President Plans Russia Trip

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi attends the third session of the Arab Economic Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 21, 2013.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi attends the third session of the Arab Economic Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 21, 2013.
Reuters
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will visit Russia next week, a state-run newspaper reported on Friday, in a visit market sources expect to focus on the cash-strapped Arab state's energy, wheat import and financing needs.

Morsi will meet President Vladimir Putin for talks that would explore "ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in all fields," Al Gomhuria reported, citing an anonymous source.

The Syria crisis would be high on his agenda, it said. The presidency could not immediately be reached for comment.

Egypt is grappling with an economic crisis caused by more than two years of political instability. The country's foreign currency reserves are at critically low levels and the government is struggling with an unaffordable deficit.

Shortages of imported fuel are disrupting transport and causing power cuts in the country of 84 million. The situation is expected to worsen as summer approaches and Egyptians switch on their air conditioning.

The world's biggest importer of wheat, Egypt has cut back on international purchases this year in the hope of a bumper local harvest.

In a boost to Egypt's finances, Qatar this week agreed to buy $3 billion in government bonds and to supply natural gas in the summer when it is needed. Libya also signed a deal to give Egypt a $2 billion, five-year, interest-free loan, according to the Egyptian state news agency.

The government is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion loan deal that would unlock billions more in international support.

Wheat stocks

Several sources on European commodities and energy markets told Reuters the Egyptians may discuss financing needs and oil and wheat supplies during their visit to Russia.

"Talk is that an Egyptian delegation to Russia has both oil and gas as a focus,'' said one European trader. "Imports by Egypt with delayed payment seem to be on the wish list.''

Egypt's wheat stocks are likely to plunge below 1 million tons by June 30 as its economic crisis cripples purchases from the international market, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report said.

A second Moscow-based source said that Egypt also planned to discuss a possible $2 billion loan from Russia.

Russia, which is a net creditor, has been sought out by countries in financial difficulty that are seeking easier terms than those offered by the IMF, with recent examples including Cyprus and Serbia.

Egypt is likely to discuss wheat supplies from the next crop, as Russia has already run down the exportable surplus from last year's poor harvest.

Currently there is no clarity on the wheat supply volume, timing or payment method, the sources added.

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov met with Essam Haddad, an assistant to the Egyptian president for foreign relations on Thursday, but wheat supplies were not discussed, his ministry said.

Russia's new crop is likely to arrive in June or July, its 2013 grain harvest is officially expected at 90-92 million tons with an exportable surplus of around 20 million tons.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid