Egypt Denies Report on Leaked Document That Said It Planned to Ship Arms to Russia


CAIRO — A classified U.S. intelligence document among those that leaked on the internet earlier this year describes an Egyptian plan to secretly produce rockets, artillery rounds and gunpowder for Russia, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Egypt, one of the world’s top recipients of American aid, denied any such plan to collaborate with Russia, against American interests. The New York Times has not seen or verified the document.

According to The Post’s report, the document was dated Feb. 17 and described recent conversations between President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and senior Egyptian military officials.

A second report on Tuesday, this one by The Associated Press, said that Russian intelligence officers had claimed to have persuaded the United Arab Emirates to “work together against U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies.” The New York Times has not seen or verified that document.

The U.A.E., another close American partner, called the assertion “categorically false.”

While both Egypt and the U.A.E. work closely with the United States on security and other matters, both Arab countries cultivate friendly ties with Russia, and — publicly at least — have avoided choosing sides in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Emirati officials have portrayed their country as a neutral mediator, and has facilitated a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia; Egypt, which looks to Russia for tourists and grain imports, insists it is on good terms with all sides.

A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. But the flagship state-owned newspaper, Al-Ahram, reported on Tuesday afternoon that an “Egyptian official source” had denied producing rockets to be shipped to Russia.

The Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, also dismissed the report about Egypt, saying it “appears to be the latest canard,” according to Russia’s official Tass news agency.

U.S. government officials have cautioned that some of the leaked trove of documents were doctored or fabricated, possibly as part of a misinformation campaign. And it is still not clear how much of the information contained in the documents is authentic and how much is not.

The A.P. reported that, according to information obtained through American telecommunications intercepts, officials at Russia’s top espionage agency had claimed in mid-January that the Emirati and Russian governments had agreed to collaborate.

“We refute any allegation regarding an agreement to deepen cooperation between the U.A.E. and other countries’ security services against another country,” the Emirati government statement said, noting that the country had “deep and distinguished relations with all countries.”

A State Department spokesperson said that the U.S. government remained regularly engaged with Egypt, and that it had no indication that any plan for Egypt to supply Russia with rockets had been carried out.

Source : Nytimes