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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid