Russia approves draft agreement that allows Russian warplanes to use Egyptian air bases

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian prime minister has approved a draft agreement with Egypt that would allow Russian warplanes to use Egyptian air bases - a deal that would allow Moscow to increase its foothold in North Africa and the Middle East.

A directive signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that was published on the official legal portal on Thursday endorsed the draft prepared by Russia's Defense Ministry and instructed it to sign the deal with Egypt when it's ready.

The Russia-Egypt agreement would allow each country's warplanes to use the military airstrips of the other. It is to last for five years and could be extended further.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government has expanded military ties with Russia and signed deals to buy Russian fighter jets, helicopters and other weapons.