IMF sends new mission to Egypt for aid talks

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (R) meets with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the presidential palace in Cairo, in this August 22, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund will send a new mission to Egypt to discuss the next steps toward a potential aid program, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.

Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, was expected to be in Cairo this Sunday, IMF spokesman Bill Murray said.

"He'll be continuing discussions with the Egyptian authorities. Basically, the idea is to discuss their economic program and the next steps of the IMF's engagement with Egypt," Murray said at a news conference.

"The IMF remains fully committed to supporting Egypt at this critical time," he added. "We continue to have productive discussions."

On Monday the IMF said that it could provide an emergency short-term loan to Egypt if needed, as talks for a longer-term $4.8 billion financing program have bogged down.

But the global crisis lender said that even for a loan from its Rapid Financing Instrument program, Cairo has to show its commitment to a broader reform plan.

RFI loans are aimed at helping countries get past urgent balance of payments problems, often the result of short-term shocks.

"Egypt needs bold and ambitious policy actions to address its economic and financial challenges without further delay," an IMF spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Egypt has remained deeply divided and plagued by unrest under President Mohamed Morsi, blocking efforts to build broad-based support for economic reforms.





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