Qatar throws Egypt $3 billion lifeline amid IMF talks
Gas-rich Qatar threw Egypt another unconditional financial lifeline on Wednesday as the Arab world's most populous nation struggles to secure an IMF loan to ease its deepening economic crisis. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said after talks with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil that Qatar would provide an extra $3 billion on top of some $5 billion the Gulf state has already given Cairo, and would extend gas supplies to Egypt this summer as needed.
Copyright Reuters, 2013
He told a joint news conference that Qatar, the biggest financial backer of Egypt's Islamist-led government, "did not ask for anything in return" for its aid. Kandil clarified in a statement on his Facebook page that Qatar would buy $3 billion worth of Egyptian government bonds. He dismissed media reports that relations with Doha were strained over a series of tax and regulatory issues affecting Qatari banks seeking to acquire assets in Egypt.
The new financial injection could buy Egypt time as it seeks to avert social unrest over fuel shortages and food price increases during a long, hot summer in the run-up to parliamentary elections expected in October. But Western diplomats said it was no alternative to an IMF deal, which could unlock up to $15 billion in multilateral and bilateral lending, and improve confidence for foreign and domestic investors.