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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid