News / Middle East

Kerry: US to Release Millions in Aid to Egypt

Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, left, sits with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, March 3, 2013.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, left, sits with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, March 3, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington will provide Egypt with immediate financial aid because of the nation's "extreme needs."  Kerry announced the deal after meeting Sunday with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.  Cairo is the first stop in the Arab world for Kerry as he makes his inaugural trip as the top American diplomat.

Secretary of State Kerry says the United States will make $190 million available immediately from a promised $450-million package for budget support.  He also pledged $60 million toward a new enterprise fund.  

Kerry, who met with President Mohamed Morsi Sunday in Cairo, said the United States made the offer after assurances from the Egyptian leader of political reform and his commitment to securing a much-delayed loan from the International Monetary Fund.

U.S. officials say the two also discussed the Syria conflict, relations with Iran, Egypt's continued support of its peace treaty with Israel and other regional concerns.

But the focus of this stop on Kerry's trip centered on Egypt's domestic concerns.  The nation is deeply divided politically, while its economy is in dire straits.  The combination has kept away foreign investors and tourists, a key source of revenue, pushing foreign reserves to dangerously low levels.  

Some Egyptian and foreign economists say without a major cash infusion, such as the $4.8 billion IMF loan, bankruptcy for Egypt is possible within months.  Yet the loans are tied to austerity measures, which political analysts predict could lead to further unrest.  Protests continued around the country during Kerry's two-day visit.  

On Saturday, Kerry said he came to Egypt not to interfere, but to listen.  Yet not everyone sees the U.S. as a neutral player. Kerry spoke with several political opponents of President Morsi, but some, including Hamden Sabahi, declined to meet with him.

Retired Egyptian general and security expert Sameh Seif al Yazal explains the view of some Egyptians.

"There is a kind of feeling internally in Egypt that the U.S. administration is supporting very much the Muslim Brotherhood and that is the feeling not only on the street level, but even to intellectuals and politicians and professionals," said al Yazal.  

That train of thought, al Yazal argues, turned even some Morsi supporters against the United States as the economy declined.

"The poorer people in the street they believed at the time, 'Yes let us vote for the Muslim Brotherhood because the Americans want them.'  They come to power that means the economy will be better and the Americans will support and it is going be a better life," said al Yazal.

It was not immediately clear what impact, if any, the money pledged Sunday would have.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More