Sunday, October 27, 2013

‘Russia eyes Egypt’s ports in bid to boost military presence’

Cold-shouldered by Washington, Cairo could be just the thing Putin needs to secure more influence in the region, report says

The Russian warship Varyag (illustrative photo: CC BY-randychiu, Flickr)
Russia has been seeking to upgrade its military ties with Egypt in an effort to augment its limited access to the Mediterranean and bolster its navy’s presence in the region, the London Times reported Sunday. 

According to the report, Moscow has been shopping for alternatives to the Tartus port in Syria, where it maintains a limited naval facility, due to fears that President Bashar Assad’s regime will eventually be toppled by rebel forces.  

The Times of Israel could not independently confirm the report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia would seek to maintain a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean, but experts say the base in Tartus can’t provide sufficient support for such a presence and is too small for large ships.

“Tartus is vulnerable and not good enough and the Egyptian ports are perfect for the Russian navy,” the Times quoted an unnamed Israeli defense source as saying.

An Egyptian diplomatic delegation was in Moscow over the weekend for meetings with Russian officials. According to the Times, the purpose of the trip was to lay the groundwork for a visit to Cairo by Putin.

Egypt, whose relationship with the US has been suffering in the wake of recent political turmoil in the country, has been on the lookout for a new military patron, and Russia’s need for a larger, more reliable port of call in the Middle East could present a confluence of interests for Cairo and Moscow.


On October 19, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that Egypt was looking to Russia to supply it with arms after the US froze much of its military aid in protest over the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.  Read more @

http://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-seeks-a-naval-presence