MOSCOW, Russia, Russia has approved a draft agreement with Egypt, for Russian war planes to use Egyptian military bases, according to a document released today, a deal that would allow Moscow to further increase its military footprint in the Mideast.

The directive, signed by Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and published on the official portal of legal information, endorses the draft, prepared by the Russian Defence Ministry and instructs it to sign the deal with Egypt when it is ready.

The Russia-Egypt deal, which would allow each country’s war planes to use air bases of the other, is to last five years and could be extended further if agreed.

For Egypt, the deal is significant, as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has expanded military ties with Russia and signed deals to buy Russian fighter jets, helicopters and other weapons.

Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, visited Cairo on Wednesday, noting that military cooperation between the two countries has increased recently, as Egypt placed new orders for Russian weapons.

We are pleased to note stable positive dynamics in the military-technical sphere, Shoigu was quoted as saying, during meeting of an inter-government commission on military-technical cooperation.

He also offered condolences for the massacre at a village mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last week, that killed 305 people during Friday prayers, the deadliest attack by extremists in Egypt’s modern history.

Shoigu emphasised the need to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism.

We believe that it’s necessary to fight this evil together, using all accessible means, he said.

Moscow and Cairo have held talks on boosting airport security and resuming the air link, but no agreement has been reached so far.

Under el-Sissi, who developed friendly ties with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Egypt has expanded economic ties with Russia and shown a renewed interest in Russian arms.