Egypt's el-Sissi heads to Moscow in rare visit to Russian capital by Arab nation's army chief

The Associated Press

In this undated image released on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Military Spokesman of the Armed Forces, Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi poses for a portrait in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/The Official Facebook Page of the Egyptian Military Spokesman of the Armed Forces)

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military chief is heading to Moscow in a rare visit to the Russian capital by the Arab nation's top commander — and the first since the popularly-backed coup that ousted the country's Islamist president last summer.

Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali says Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is accompanied on the trip, which starts Wednesday, by Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

Ali says the trip follows the "historic" visit by a top-level Russian delegation in November.

Moscow is trying to expand its influence in Egypt, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, at a time when U.S.-Egyptian relations have soured after the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi last July.

El-Sissi is widely expected to announce he will run for president in elections that are likely due in late April.

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