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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid