Egypt asks Russia for $2 billion loan

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON — Egypt requested a $2 billion loan from Russia during a meeting between President Mohamed Mursi and his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Egyptian Industry and Trade Minister Hatem Saleh said.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Sun 21 Apr 2013, 11:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:54 AM

The countries’ finance ministers will discuss the details, Putin’s foreign-policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters after the meeting in the Russian Black Sea town of Sochi.

Mursi earlier told Putin that he wants to forge a “real political union” between the two nations, calling him a “dear friend” and “brother” as they began their talks. The Russian leader said ties are being restored “at a full scale.”

Egypt, once a Cold War ally of the Soviet Union, has so far failed to secure an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, for a $4.8 billion loan to stabilise its economy. An accord is within reach, Egypt Finance Minister El Morsi El Sayed Hegazi said in Washington. Russia plans to restore strategic ties with Egypt, according to Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament’s foreign-affairs committee.

“The Americans are aiding Egypt with around $2 billion per year,” Pushkov said by phone from Moscow. “They understand the strategic role of this country in the Arab World. We should finance our foreign policy too.”

Russia is ready to consider any aid request from Egypt, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. The country has invited Russia to build a nuclear power plant, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in Sochi.

‘As quickly as feasible’

Meanwhile, the IMF and Egyptian finance officials are working to conclude talks “as quickly as feasible” on the loan deal, a senior IMF official said.

“I don’t have a date for when those discussions will be completed precisely, but Egyptian authorities and our own team are working diligently to try to bring that set of discussions to a conclusion as quickly as feasible,” IMF Director for the Middle East and North Africa Masood Ahmed told reporters.

The talks are taking place on the sidelines of IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington.

“Those discussions are both to make sure we have a complete and full set of data to start with. The authorities are making sure the data they have is the most recent and we will look at that,” Ahmed said.



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