Russia to boost food trade with Egypt to compensate for Western ban

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Russia and Egypt – both under economic pressure – are planning to help each other through trade.

Agreements were reached when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met his counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday include more Russian wheat being sold to Egypt.

In return, the Egyptians will export more potatoes, onions, garlic and oranges.

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said that will compensate for up to half of the shortfall of these products caused by the ban.

Putin is seeking new food sources after he banned most imports from the US, the European Union and some other countries in retaliation for Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

“Egypt has already increased (agricultural) supplies to our market by 30 percent (and) is ready to increase (supplies) by yet another 30 percent in the near future,” Putin said.

The two leaders – meeting at the Winter Olympics site in the mountains above Sochi – discussed a free trade zone between Egypt and the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Weapons as well as wheat were on the agenda. A selection of Russian military hardware for sale – including armoured vehicles and missile systems – was shown to the Egyptian president, who is also his country’s former army chief.

Russia has signalled its desire to expand ties with Egypt, an important US ally in the Middle East.

with Reuters and AP

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