Interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov both stressed the importance of the relationship between their two countries on the first of two days of discussions being held in Moscow.
Fahmy arrived in the Russian capital on Sunday evening ahead of the talks, scheduled to continue through Monday and Tuesday.
The two ministers began discussing ways to strengthen bilateral relations in a number of areas including politics, economics and trade. They also discussed regional issues, with the Syrian conflict and the Palestinian issue at the top of the agenda, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ahead of the meeting Fahmy congratulated Russia on its diplomatic efforts in reaching an agreement with the United States on how to deal with the issue of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.
After the agreement was announced on Saturday, Fahmy welcomed it and expressed hope for a diplomatic solution to the conflict and he was also hopeful that this could be a step towards ridding the region of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Egypt has been against any potential foreign military intervention in Syria, stressing the need for a political solution to the crisis.
Before the meetings began in Moscow, Lavrov said “we have an interest in stabilising the situation in Egypt,” according to a ministry statement. He added that Russia believes that Egypt plays an important role in the Arab world.
In response to a question as to whether Egypt is moving away from the Western sphere towards others, Fahmy said this was not the case but added, “we are heading into many external circles and will develop relations that need assessing.” He said this applied to all relationships, old and new.
The Russian minister also stressed that it is essential for the Egyptian people to choose their own path when moving forward with the current political transition. He added that Egypt’s stability is important to the future relationship between the two countries.
Fahmy is also expected encourage Russian tourism stressing the safety of Egypt’s tourist resorts on the Red Sea coasts. Egypt’s resorts are a popular tourist destination for Russian sun seekers, with 2.5 million arriving in 2012, but this has declined recently due to the political unrest in Egypt. Russia also issued a travel warning to its citizens in August, which contributed to a marked decrease in hotel occupancy rates.