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Egypt courting Russian cooperation

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CAIRO – In an echo of the Cold War, Egypt gave the red carpet welcome Thursday to senior Russian officials aiming to expand Moscow’s influence through military and economic cooperation with a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

The flirtation underscores how U.S.-Egyptian relations have soured lately over the Obama administration’s criticism of the July 3 military coup. And although Egyptian officials say the one-time Soviet client is not turning away from the United States, the military-backed government is clearly signaling it has options.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy sought to downplay speculation of a major foreign policy shift, describing the visit by Russian’s foreign and defense ministers as an “activation” of existing ties and speaking positively of cooperation between the two countries “in multiple fields.”

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