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Tourism minister: Egypt and Russia may abandon US dollar
 CAIRO, Egypt - Russia and Egypt might use the Russian currency unit, the ruble, in their mutual settlements, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou told the Al Shorouk newspaper published on Friday. He said that in condition of the ruble devaluation and in a bid to encourage tourism flows from Russia the two countries might begin to use the ruble as a payments unit in the sphere of tourism and in trade in general “already in February.” Zaazou said that the sides were working on a mechanism of mutual settlements to abandon the U.S. dollar as a basic currency unit. Such settlements, in his words, might be made via the two countries’ Central Banks. At the initial stage, the ruble would be used to pay for tourist vouchers and travel companies’ fees. Further on, he said, these funds might be used by Cairo to pay for imports from Russia. Egypt is currently taking all possible measures to keep the tourist flow from Russia from falling in conditions of the financial crisis. In 2014, about three million Russians visited Egypt, but the overall positive situation was marred in December, when the number of Russian vacationers in Egypt nearly halved following the ruble's slide. In a bid to encourage tourism from Russia, Egypt cancelled visa fees for Russian tourists for a term of four months - from January 15 to April 30. Tourists who will buy package tours to the Red Sea resorts will not have to pay a fee of 25 U.S. dollars per capita.
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