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Russia, Egypt make progress in resuming full-format air traffic — Lavrov

Moscow and Cairo have achieved some progress in resuming the full-format air traffic between Russia and Egypt, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper published on Saturday.

Lavrov, who is visiting Egypt on Saturday, said that during the upcoming meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minsiter Sameh Shoukry he was set to discuss plans of boosting bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

"We will review the pressing issues in trade and economic ties, which still have vast potential," Lavrov said. "As part of efforts to intensify the cultural and humanitarian exchange, special attention will be paid to organizing and holding the Year of Humanitarian Cooperation between Russia and Egypt in 2020."

"Naturally, the problem of full-format air traffic will be discussed, all the more so because some positive developments on the issue have been emerging," he said. "The proper level of security remains an important prerequisite for the soonest return of Russian tourists to beautiful resorts of the Red Sea."

All flights between Russia and Egypt were cancelled in November 2015 after an A321 passenger jet owned by Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31, 2015, some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

In 2016-2017, the sides negotiated the resumption of aviation service. A new terminal meeting all aviation security requirements was been constructed in the Cairo airport. Before flights resumed, Russian aviation experts inspected the airport several times.

In January 2018, Putin signed a decree to resume regular flights between Russia and Egypt. The first flight from Moscow to Cairo took place on April 11, 2018.

However, charter flights to Egyptian resort towns, particularly Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, remain suspended to date.

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