MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday called for a coalition to combat terrorism in the Middle East.

Opening a meeting with Putin in Moscow, el-Sissi said "the Egyptian people" are hoping for broader ties with Russia in all areas, particularly in fighting terrorism in the Middle East.

El-Sissi's Russian visit, his second in the past three months, highlights Moscow's attempts to expand its influence in Egypt at a time when Egyptian-U.S. relations have soured in the aftermath of the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Putin told reporters after the talks that regional powers should join their efforts to combat the Islamic State group.

"(We) have underscored the vital importance of setting a counter-terrorism front to include key international players of the region including Syria," he said.

Putin and el-Sissi were also expected to hammer out the details of a joint project to build Egypt's first nuclear power station but Putin told reporters on Wednesday that experts from both countries are still working on it.