CAIRO: Egypt is prepared to repay within days $2 billion that Qatar deposited with Egypt’s central bank in May if talks to convert the funds into bonds do not succeed, a central bank official said Wednesday. “This supposedly should be moved to a three-year bond, and still they have not finished it,” said the official, who asked not to be identified. “If it’s not done, we will repay it. We are ready for this.”
The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper said the Qatari government had asked that the conversion be delayed.
Cairo’s relations with Qatar have deteriorated since the Egyptian army deposed President Mohammad Morsi on July 3. Qatar has been a firm backer of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and lent or gave Egypt $7.5 billion during the year he was in power.
In May, Egypt converted $2.5 billion of the Qatari loans into 18-month bonds at 4.25 percent interest, and on July 1 it converted another $1 billion into three-year bonds at 3.5 percent interest.
The central bank official said talks with Qatar on converting the $2 billion deposit into three-year bonds would continue for another week.