Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow and Cairo may soon abandon the US dollar in bilateral trade and use their national currencies instead.
Putin said during an interview with Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily newspaper, ahead of his visit to Egypt on Monday, that the issue was being “actively discussed” between the two sides.
“This measure will open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation between our countries, reduce its dependence on the current trends in the world markets,” Putin said. “This issue is being discussed in substance by relevant agencies of both countries.”
Putin also said that the use of the Russian ruble and the Egyptian pound in settlement of the accounts would help create more favorable conditions for Russian people who regularly travel to Egypt.
The Russian leader added that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to more than $4.5 billion, a figure nearly 50 percent up from the previous year.
According to Russian sources, Moscow has also been seeking a change to the use of national currencies in mutual bilateral trade with countries including China, India, Thailand and Turkey. Russia is also in talks with Iran to exclude the US dollar from bilateral transactions.
Russia provides about 40 percent of grain consumed in Egypt, while Moscow imports fruits and vegetables from Cairo.
Following sanctions imposed on Russia by Western powers over Moscow’s alleged role in the crisis in Ukraine, Russia imposed a full ban of European Union, US, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian food exports to the country.
Egypt then announced it would increase agricultural deliveries to Russia by 30 percent.