IMF official says good progress made in Egypt talks
Egypt and the International Monetary Fund made very good progress in talks on Sunday, an IMF official said, after meeting with government officials seeking a $4.8 billion IMF loan to help relieve a currency and budget crisis.
The IMF has said Egypt needs to take bold, immediate action. Egypt agreed an IMF loan in principle last November but requested a delay during violent unrest the following month.
"Weve had very good progress, and we had very constructive discussions," Masood Ahmed, director of the IMFs Middle East and Central Asia Department, told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Hisham Kandil in Cairo.
Both sides agreed on the need to support a national program that addresses Egypts economic challenges, he said.
"The IMF is fully committed to working with the Egyptian authorities in the coming weeks to try to reach an agreement on such a program," he said, adding that the next step would be technical work over the coming days.
The fund has raised the possibility of interim funding for Egypt, which would give it access to emergency aid of around $750 million while it negotiates a full-fledged program.
But Egypts cabinet made clear last week it does not want to sign any emergency loan and that any IMF agreement would be within the framework of the countrys economic program.
Egypts government faces daunting economic and political problems two years after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
Street unrest and feuds with the opposition have sapped confidence and foreign reserves slid to critical levels. The fiscal deficit is reaching unaffordable levels and Egypts pound has fallen more than 8 percent against the dollar this year.
A senior U.S. diplomat said last week it was "absolutely essential" Egypt sealed an IMF deal as fast as possible because of shortages of foreign exchange, diesel and raw materials.
The IMF found Egypts latest economic proposal unsatisfactory, the diplomat said, describing the process up to that point as "exceedingly rocky."
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Osama El-Baz (1931 – September 14, 2013) was a prominent Egyptian politician and a Senior Advisor to former President Hosni Mubarak since 1981. A graduate from Cairo University, he studied for six years in the United States, where he obtained his master's degree as well as a PhD from Harvard Law School. El-Baz later joigned the Egyptian foreign service, and was made chef de cabinet
1991: -- Nov 1: The Madrid Peace Conference sets out a peace process framework. 1993: -- Sept 13: Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization sign a Declaration of Principles on autonomy after months of secret negotiations in Oslo. 1994: -- May 4: Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sign autonomy accord in Cairo. 2000: -- July 11-25: US president