US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday again pressed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to make concrete progress on economic reforms and rights, warning continued US and global aid was at stake.
The Egyptians vowed that they had taken some steps, but Kerry “said we need to be able to show Congress that you’ve taken the necessary reforms,” a senior State Department official said on the sidelines of an African Union summit.
“I have been a strong advocate of support for Egypt. I continue to support aid for Egypt, but we need to see reforms in place that will encourage my former colleagues back at home to act,” he told the Egyptian leader, the official said.
Last year the IMF reached a deal in principle to provide a $4.8 billion loan to help finance the Egyptian government while it undertakes reforms.
They have been in talks for months over the loan that is contingent on strong support from Egyptian politicians and a commitment to key reforms.
Authorities believe the IMF loan will help restore investor confidence in Egypt, where unrest that accompanied the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak hammered revenue from the once-lucrative tourism industry.
The loan was close to completion in November when political changes in Cairo set it back. After talks earlier this month, the IMF said it was working with Egyptian authorities to devise a plan to address “growing fiscal imbalances”.
But no new talks have been scheduled.
In March, Kerry unveiled the first $190 million in promised aid to Cairo during his first trip to the country as secretary of state, saying the rest of a $250 million pledge would follow once the necessary reforms were in place.
On Saturday, he again pressed Morsi to take “action on making reforms happen now to move towards requirements to get the IMF package,” the official said.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]