Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, on the last leg of a week-long Middle Eastern tour, met in Cairo yesterday with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and with the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Martin Indyk. Primakov later told reporters that Egypt and Russia are concerned over the current stalemate in the peace process. Primakov, who also met yesterday with his Egyptian counterpart, Amr Moussa, briefed Mubarak on the content of his talks with leaders throughout the region. The Egyptian president reportedly underlined the need to reactivate Russia’s role in the Middle East peace process, a goal that Moscow hopes Primakov’s trip will help to realize. Earlier this week Primakov, who is himself a Middle Eastern specialist with long ties to a number of Arab leaders, was critical of the dominant diplomatic role played by the U.S. in the region, and called for Russia and the European Union to exert more influence on the peace talks there.
That there has been some additional harmonizing of views between Moscow and Cairo was suggested by Primakov’s announcement that Russian president Boris Yeltsin will travel to Cairo for talks with Mubarak in April of next year. (UPI, Itar-Tass, Xinhua, October 30) It will be the second meeting of the two leaders in seven months. In late September the Egyptian president traveled to Moscow, where Boris Yeltsin said that Israel was responsible for the breakdown of peace talks in the Middle East and that Moscow would work to raise its profile in the region. Prior to Mubarak’s arrival in Russia an Egyptian diplomat was quoted as saying that Cairo hopes to restore the close ties it had with Moscow during the Soviet era. (See Monitor, September 25)
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