‘Egypt to repay $2.5bn to Qatar’
CAIRO // Egypt will repay a US$2.5 billion (Dh9.2bn) deposit to Qatar at the end of November, a central bank source said.
This brings to $6bn the amount Cairo has repaid Doha since the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was removed from office last year.
At the same time, Egypt received $1bn this week from Kuwait, one of several other Gulf states which have supported the country since Mr Morsi was toppled.
Qatar had helped prop up the Egyptian economy in the aftermath of the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and brought Mr Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to power in the country’s first democratic elections.
Qatar, which supports the Brotherhood, provided the Morsi government with billions of dollars in deposits, grants and energy supplies during his year in power.
But Cairo’s relations with Doha have soured since the Egyptian military, then led by the current president, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, ousted Morsi in July 2013 following protests against his rule.
Egypt repaid a $500 million deposit in October and has another $500m outstanding, which is due to be repaid in the second half of 2015.
“Qatar made a formal request in the last few days for the return of an outstanding deposit of $2.5bn and the central bank will return the deposit at the end of November,” the source said.
Mr El Sisi, who won a presidential election in May, has led a crackdown on the Brotherhood that has seen hundreds killed and thousands imprisoned in the past year.
Since Mr Morsi was removed, Egypt has relied on support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which see the Brotherhood as a threat.
An Egyptian government source said Cairo this week received a $1bn grant from Kuwait, the latest in billions of dollars of aid to arrive from Gulf allies.
Egypt has been hit by political and economic turmoil following the 2011 uprising.
The government is trying to strike a balance between cutting its deficit while reviving economic growth, which at 2.2 per cent in the 2013-14 fiscal year remains too slow to create enough jobs for its population of 86 million.
In an effort to ease the burden on its swelling budget deficit and minimise its need for Gulf aid, Egypt’s government has introduced a raft of long-delayed reforms in recent months including subsidy cuts and tax hikes.
Published: November 6, 2014 04:00 AM