Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mare Nostrum

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov leaves for Egypt today.   The focus of the talks he will have in Egypt, and then Algeria, will be the military operations in Libya to protect civilians against  Gadaffi's regime.

 Egypt is a long-standing partner of Russia.  After the ousting of former-President Mubarak,  Lavrov would like to see what is happening now in Egypt and to establish contacts with the new leadership there.  During the visit to Cairo, "there will be meetings with the chairman of the Supreme Council of the armed forces, Hussein Tantawi, and consultations with the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Nabil al-Arabi", according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman.  

In what might be regarded as an understatement rather than a statement, he continued:
"....Focus will be [on] the recent developments in the Middle East and North African countries... The ministers will compare  assessments and are likely to work out some common approaches to this situation... In this context, of course, issues of international assistance to Egypt will be discussed".

Egypt wants to talk about tourism, on which the national economy and employment are largely dependent.   'The Egyptian Minister of Tourism recently held a large scale campaign in Moscow to attract Russians to Egyptian resorts. Observers hope that ...   during Lavrov's visit   the Foreign Ministry will announce that its advice to tourists not to visit Egypt is lifted.'

In Cairo Lavrov will also meet with the secretary-general of the League of Arab States 'to address key international and regional agenda issues'  [that's one way of putting it, ed.]  Russia has condemned the military operation undertaken by a number of NATO countries, and called for  'a dialogue of Libyans themselves to ensure a democratic future for the country.'

Lavrov will then go on to Algeria where he is scheduled to meet  President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and  Mourad Medelci, the Algerian Foreign Minister.  

"Algeria is one of   three countries, the others are India and China, with which Russia seriously develops military-technical cooperation...  We intend to continue to coordinate with Algeria on our approaches to key international problems.  ... as well as co-operation in the areas of energy,  infrastructure construction and advanced technologies. Algeria for the past several years has been among the three major partners of Russia on the African continent", the Russian Foreign Ministry ended.  (Tass)

Not for nothing, and since the time of the Roman Empire, has the Mediterranean been Mare Nostrum. There have been wars over Russia trying to muscle in.

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