President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he wishes Egypt’s top military officer “success” in his likely presidential run.
Putin’s comments came during General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to Moscow, al-Sisi’s first since the coup that ousted his predecessor Mohamed Morsi last year. Al-Sisi has signaled interest in running for president. Putin, the Associated Press reports, called that “a very responsible decision: to undertake such a mission for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own part, and on behalf of the Russian people I wish you success.”
Despite ongoing protests in favor of Morsi, al-Sisi is seen as popular among a large contingent of the Egyptian population. He’s expected to declare his candidacy in elections that will likely take place in April. His visit to Moscow was accompanied by reports of an impending Egyptian arms deal with Russia worth $2 billion and largely bankrolled by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.