Responding to reports by Russian newspaper Izvestia and other Russian media outlets, spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency Alaa Youssef denied that bilateral discussions are taking place that would lead to the establishment of a Russian military base in Egypt, state-run Al-Ahram reported Monday.
Youssef asserted that Egypt will not allow the establishment of foreign military bases near Egyptian coasts.
Izvestia reported on Monday that Russia is currently carrying out discussions with Egypt to establish military facilities, including an air force base, in northwest Egypt near the Mediterranean Sea.
According to a high–ranking official in the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, who the newspaper preferred to keep anonymous, the bilateral talks between Egypt and Russia discussed the establishment of an Air Force base by 2019 if both parties reached an agreement.
The newspaper also mentioned the exact location of the rumoured base, in the Egyptian coastal city of Sidi Barrani.
“The Egyptian Armed Forces has nothing to do with the circulated report of a potential Russian air base in Egypt. The Foreign Ministry and the presidency are the only apparatuses authorised to deny or assert the authenticity of this news,” the Egyptian Army’s media office told Daily News Egypt on Monday.
The issue is “more political than military-related” and if the army is indeed related, the official spokesperson will immediately issue a statement, the media office said.
Russia Today also received an official rebuttal from the Ministry of Defence regarding the authenticity of Izvestia’s report, the news outlet claimed.
Until 1972, Russia owned a naval base in the Sidi Barrani city that was used to monitor the movement of US warships.
The current government in Russia is keen to possess military bases away from Russia’s borders, giving it a wider scope against potential threats. Last week the Russian defence ministry declared that it was considering restoring its military presence in Cuba and Vietnam.
Izvestia also reported that the bilateral talks on the possibility of Russia’s participation in re-building operations of several Egyptian military stationing points in the aforementioned city has been tackled successfully.