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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Hails Egypt Talks as Boost to Trade Ties

President Boris Yeltsin welcomed his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, on Tuesday and said Russia wants to build planes and develop energy projects with the Arab nation to boost sagging trade ties.

"Today's visit serves to step up our cooperation in different fields," Yeltsin told Mubarak in a meeting at the Kremlin.

"Our people know Egypt better than any other Arab country," he said.

Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who took part in the meeting with Mubarak, noted that bilateral trade has declined from about $1 billion to $400 million over the past five years.

Egypt now has a huge trade deficit with Russia, its exports accounting for only about 10 percent of bilateral trade, Nemtsov said.

Russian and Egyptian leaders discussed progress on a joint project to build passenger jets, as well as contracts for Russia to help in the development of power projects in Egypt, according to Itar-Tass and Interfax.

The Egyptian company Kato Aeromatic has joined efforts with Aviastar, Russia's largest maker of commercial aircraft, to produce and market Russian-built Tu-204 airliners.

Nemtsov said Mubarak's visit would play a "key role" in the expansion of bilateral relations and praised the Egyptian president for bringing a big team of Egyptian businessmen with him.

Mubarak, who arrived Monday on a three-day visit, invited Yeltsin to return to Egypt. The Russian leader went to Egypt last year as part of an anti-terrorist summit.