Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in St. Petersburg on Wednesday to participate in a Russia-Africa summit.

Ahmed Fahmy, a spokesman for the presidency, said the summit was launched in 2019 under Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union.

“The First Russia-Africa Summit was held in Sochi, Russia, co-hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President El-Sisi, to reinforce and deepen the outstanding and historical relations between the African continent and Russia,” Fahmy said.

He said this year’s summit will include two plenary sessions and will issue a final communique. On the sidelines of the summit, a number of economic, trade and cultural activities will be held. “El-Sisi is also expected to hold talks with Putin to explore ways to further advance bilateral relations across all levels,” Fahmy said.

“The meeting comes within the framework of the firm bonds that Egypt and Russia share as well as the two countries’ commitment to fostering closer cooperation and continuing intensive consultations on regional and international issues of mutual concern,” he said.

Georgy Borizenko, Russia’s ambassador to Egypt, said El-Sisi is always a guest of honor for Russia. The talks between the two presidents in St. Petersburg are an ideal opportunity to discuss all international and regional issues, in addition to developments in Russian-Egyptian cooperation, Borizenko said in statements to local media.

He said the talks would give a new impetus to cooperation between the two countries in various fields, “especially as we celebrate this year the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Egypt.”The Russia-Africa Summit will see the participation of 49 countries where they will discuss food security and combating poverty.

Putin will hold meetings with a number of African leaders. In a message on the summit’s website, Putin said: “I am happy to welcome the participants and guests of the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which will take place in St. Petersburg. “Today, Africa is asserting itself more and more confidently as one of the poles of the emerging multipolar world.” He added: “Russia supports the aspiration of African nations to secure socioeconomic stability and advancement.”

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