As the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, Moscow was continuing to develop relations with its partners in the region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Jawad Zarif, where they discussed the implications of the decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, confirming that Russia maintains its position in relation to the deal.
Lavrov announced his regret at Washington’s decision, and said, “As far as we are aware, the European troika, China, Iran and Russia have announced their plans to comply with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA.” He added that Russia and Europe had a duty to “jointly defend their legal interests”.
For his part, Zarif said, “the JCPOA complies with the balance of commitment between Iran and Europe and the United States, which means creating an imbalance in the event the US were to leave”. Zarif added, “Russia’s situation is comforting for us, we hope we are able to establish discussions in terms of cooperation in the form of 4+1”.
The Defense and Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Russia have had a series of meetings in the context of “2+2” as part of the strategic partnership of the two countries agreed in November 2013.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the four defence and foreign ministers would exchange ideas regarding “the methods of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in crisis management and fighting terrorism”, in addition to “many regional and international issues, with a focus on the conditions in the Middle East and North Africa”, a direct reference to Libya.
“Egypt is one of the primary partners to Russia in the Middle East”
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that “Egypt is considered one of the primary partners of Russia in the Middle East, the Arab World and the African continent”. The ministry indicated that “Moscow is keen on maintaining intense cooperation with Egypt in regional and international affairs, developing a comprehensive domain of dual relations, and executing major joint projects in various areas”.
Ahmed Abu Zaid, official spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, confirmed that “the discussions of Egyptian Foreign Minister, Samih Shukri and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov will include methods of developing relations between the two countries in various areas - political, economic, cultural and tourism, based on the boost the relationship between the two countries witnessed after the last visit of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to Egypt in December 2017, and witnessed the signature of contracts on establishing the Dabaa Nuclear Station, and re-establishing direct flights between the two countries in April 2018”.
Abu Zaid added that the two countries had shared interests over the crises in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, over the Iran nuclear deal, and furthermore were promoting cooperation and coordination in combating terrorism. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the strategic dialogue between Egypt and Russia as per the “2+2” mechanism had come into effect in 2013, allowing Egypt to become the sixth country Russia links with in strategic discussion at the level of foreign and defence ministers after the United States, France, Italy, the UK and Japan, and reflects the strategic relationship between the two countries. The two countries have had three meetings under this mechanism, the first in Cairo in 2013, the second in Moscow in 2014, and the third in Cairo in May 2017.