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$4 billion Saudi aid for Egypt

In this May 19, 2011 photo, an Egyptian woman sits at a popular market in Cairo. Saudi Arabia has pledged financial assistance t

Source : Arab News
RIYADH | 21 May 2011

Saudi Arabia has pledged $4 billion in aid to Egypt, the chief of Egypt's ruling military council said Saturday. The aid will be in the form of soft loans, deposits and grants, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the council, was quoted by Egypt's MENA news agency as saying. The agency did not provide a time frame or other details.

The Saudi Press Agency said Tantawi called Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Saturday and thanked him for providing the financial assistance to his cash-strapped country.

The Egyptian leader highlighted the historic ties between the two Arab countries and commended the Kingdom for standing by his country during "these trying times," the SPA said. The two leaders also discussed major regional developments and ways of strengthening bilateral relations.

Cairo has been asking donors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help bridge a funding gap through mid-2012 estimated at between $10 billion and $12 billion in the wake of the mass protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.

The month-long anti-government protest has caused tourism and investor revenue to dry up at a time when high popular expectations have increased the pressure on the budget.

The mass circulation Al-Ahram daily quoted financial sources in Cairo as saying the Saudi package would support Egypt's general budget, the central bank, development and other projects and bond purchases. Egypt's economy contracted by an estimated 7 percent in the January-to-March quarter.


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