BEIRUT

Middle East

Turkey to provide Egypt with $2 billion in finance

A protester on Qaser El Niel bridge near Tahrir Square in Cairo September 15, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO: Turkey has agreed during a visit by Egyptian officials to Istanbul to provide Egypt with a $2 billion financing package, Egypt's finance minister said on Saturday.

Egypt's new government has been seeking foreign help to plug twin deficits in its budget and balance of payments that have mushroomed since last year's popular uprising. Last month it formally asked the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan.

Mumtaz al-Saeed said he could not yet say whether the Turkish financing would include any direct budget support.

"We agreed on $2 billion in financing, but the details on how it will be structured have not yet been worked out yet," he told Reuters by telephone.

Turkey's embassy in Cairo said the $2 billion package aimed to strengthen Egypt's foreign currency reserves and support investment in infrastructure. Half would be in the form of bilateral loans.

Mumtaz and presidential assistant Essam al-Hadad discussed the package with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan in a meeting in Istanbul, the embassy said in an emailed statement.

Qatar has promised Egypt $2 billion in loans to support the budget and on Sept. 6 it pledged to invest $18 billion in Egyptian tourism and industrial projects over the next five years.

U.S. officials have said the Obama administration was close to a deal with Egypt's new government for $1 billion in debt relief, and last week senior executives of around 50 U.S. corporations visited Egypt to discuss new investments.

Egypt's is also in talks for additional budget support worth about $1 billion from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

 

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