Putin and al-Sisi enjoy heart-warming moment over a Kalashnikov

Russian leader presented the gift - which kills an estimated 250,000 people every year - to Egyptian counterpart

Rose Troup Buchanan
Tuesday 10 February 2015 11:25 GMT
Al-Sisi positively glows with happiness as Putin presents the deadly rifle
Al-Sisi positively glows with happiness as Putin presents the deadly rifle (Afp/Getty)

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Louise Thomas

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The Egyptian president Addel-Fattah al-Sisi enjoyed a heart-warming moment after his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin presented him with a Kalashnikov during an official visit.

The Russian president, accompanied by several high ranking officials, is in Egypt on a largely symbolic trip as the leaders attempt to show neither country is entirely beholden to the West.

The meeting of the leaders was – by all accounts – exceptionally warm.

Mr Putin was greeted on a red carpet flanked by soldiers in full military dress by President Sisi before the leaders took in two exerts of Swan Lake and Aida at the Cairo Opera House.

They were then snapped enjoying what appeared to be a romantic meal for two, surrounded by the presence of scores of handlers and officials.

The couple enjoy a romantic meal
The couple enjoy a romantic meal (Reuters)

The gift of an AK-47, also known as a Kalashnikov rifle, foreshadows a possible billion-dollar Russian deal to supplied Egypt with weapons.

There are between 75 and 100 million Kalashnikovs, created by Russian Mikhail Kalashnikov, in existence – or one for every 60 people on the planet. An estimated 250,000 people die every year from wounds inflicted by an AK-47.

Both leaders face difficulties at home and hope this trip will demonstrate to the wider international community their foreign policies will not be dictated by outsiders.

Russia is currently buckling under sanctions imposed by the West as a result of the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in Ukraine. Kiev accuses Russia of supplying weaponry to separatist forces currently ripping the eastern European country apart. An estimated 5,300 have died in the civil conflict.

Meanwhile, in Egypt al-Sisi faces problems of his own. After toppling elected politician Mohamed Morsi and then staging elections, al-Sisi’s forces have cracked down on opposition at home.

Human Rights Watch claim that hundreds of protesters from the 2011 uprisings – which brought Mr Morsi to power - have been illegally jailed and face torture within the penal system.

Additional reporting by AP

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