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."
Middle East EyeWhile Western leaders have emphasised Israel's right to defend itself, regional powers have called the attack on Gaza "savage"As Operation Protective Edge entered its second day, neighbouring countries and foreign leaders reacted to the Israeli air strikes and rockets launched from Gaza in violence that has killed 35 Palestinians and injured more than 230 others. Jordan Jordan,
APAcross a wide belt that stretches halfway around the globe, the world's estimated 1.6 billion Muslims will mark the beginning of Ramadan this weekend. The holy season is marred by unprecedented turmoil, violence and sectarian hatreds that threaten to rip apart the Middle East, the epicenter of Islam.Syria is bleeding. Militants have taken over large parts of Iraq. Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan,
Human Rights Organisations Foreign officials and human rights organisations have condemned the jailing of seven defendants, including three Al-Jazeera English reporters, for 7-10 years in a maximum security prison. Australia Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was deeply shocked by the seven-year sentence imposed on Australian journalist Peter Greste.“This kind of verdict
Soon after Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was announced Egypt's president-elect on Tuesday evening, the international community mostly reacted positively, with several heads of state congratulating him on the position.The US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia all made statements regarding El-Sisi's sweeping victory.United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said on Wednesday that he puts his