President Serzh Sarkisian and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reportedly called for the deepening of relations between Armenia and Egypt when they held talks in Moscow at the weekend.
The two men met in the Russian capital on the sidelines of high-profile Russian celebrations of Soviet victory in World War Two less than two months after Sisi received Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian in Cairo.
“Both sides attached importance to further development of Armenian-Egyptian relations based on centuries-old friendship and stressed the need to give new impetus to those relations,” Sarkisian’s office said in a statement.
“The president of Egypt expressed confidence that bilateral relations and cooperation will become much more advanced than they were in the past,” added the statement. It said Sisi argued that the political situation in Egypt is stabilizing after years of turmoil.
In that regard, Sarkisian was reported to express hope that “reforms” implemented by Sisi’s government will facilitate closer ties between the two countries.
Sisi and Abrahamian reportedly agreed on the need to boost bilateral commercial ties when they met in Cairo in March. In particular, they called for relaunching the work of an Armenian-Egyptian intergovernmental committee on economic cooperation.
The Armenian presidential press service said Sisi and Sarkisian also spoke about ongoing commemorations in and outside Armenia of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. It did not elaborate.
Sisi was among foreign heads of state who were invited by Sarkisian to take part in an April 24 ceremony in Yerevan to mark the genocide centennial. Neither he nor any other Egyptian government official, including the Arab country’s ambassador to Armenia, took part in that ceremony.
The event was attended instead by Pope Tawadros II, head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, and a large number of Egyptian journalists who accompanied him. Also, Egyptian authorities allowed Egyptian Armenians, most of them descendants of genocide survivors, to honor some 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks at Cairo's Unknown Soldier Memorial on April 24.
The current Egyptian leadership flirted with the idea of recognizing the massacres as genocide after the July 2013 overthrow of the country’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, which was strongly condemned by Turkey and led to a sharp deterioration of Turkish-Egyptian ties.
In August 2013, a Twitter message attributed to Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour said his country plans to sign an “international document recognizing the Armenian massacres which were committed by the Turkish army.” In the following weeks, pro-government Egyptian media ran reports shedding light on the Armenian genocide.
According to Dailynewsegypt.com, Sarkisian again invited Sisi to visit Armenia at the Moscow meeting. The Armenian leader also accepted Sisi’s invitation to attend the inauguration of the ongoing New Suez Canal project, reported the publication.