Russia says air link with Egypt will be restored soon

Russia's foreign minister says after talks with his Egyptian counterpart that the two countries are completing preparations for restoring direct flights, which were halted by Moscow after the downing of a Russian passenger jet.

The Russian plane crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for planting it.

The crash and Russia's decision to cut the air link to Egypt has dealt a severe blow to Egypt's vital tourism sector.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hailed the Egyptian authorities for accepting Russian experts' advice on boosting airport security and said that direct flights will resume soon. He didn't mention a specific date.