Qandil discusses proposed aid package with senior US diplomat

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil met with the US under secretary of state for economic growth on Tuesday to discuss a proposed US aid package to Egypt.

Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats is leading a high-level delegation of economists and politicians, which is set to meet with officials from the Egyptian ministries of finance, foreign affairs, and planning and international cooperation.

The Tuesday meeting discussed the proposed US aid package to Egypt, which aims to support its state budget, provide requirements for the development of Sinai, and review options for restructuring Egyptian debt to the US, state-run news agency MENA reported.

Egyptian Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed and US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson also attended the meeting.

Government sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Monday that the US-proposed aid package would forgive US$1 billion of the $3.2 billion Egypt owes to the US and inject $60 million into the local economy to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

The sources also said the Egyptian government would ask the US to not just restructure the debt but drop it altogether, and allocate $1 billion to open credit lines for Egyptian goods or insure Egyptian bonds issued internationally.

A high-level Egyptian delegation visited Washington in April 2011 to request that the US fulfill President Barack Obama’s pledge to support Egypt after the 25 January revolution by dropping its debt burden.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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