• Kerry says US releasing millions in aid to Egypt
     | March 04,2013

    CAIRO — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday rewarded Egypt for President Mohammed Morsi’s pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country’s “future as a democracy.”

    Yet Kerry also served notice that the Obama administration will keep close watch on how Morsi, who came to power in June as Egypt’s first freely elected president, honors his commitment and that additional U.S. assistance would depend on it.

    “The path to that future has clearly been difficult and much work remains,” Kerry said in a statement after wrapping up two days of meetings in Egypt, a deeply divided country in the wake of the revolution that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

    Egypt is trying to meet conditions to close on a $4.8 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund. An agreement would unlock more of the $1 billion in U.S. assistance promised by President Barack Obama last year and set to begin flowing with Kerry’s announcement.

    “The United States can and wants to do more,” Kerry said. “Reaching an agreement with the IMF will require further effort on the part of the Egyptian government and broad support for reform by all Egyptians. When Egypt takes the difficult steps to strengthen its economy and build political unity and justice, we will work with our Congress at home on additional support.”

    Kerry cited Egypt’s “extreme needs” and Morsi’s “assurances that he plans to complete the IMF process” when he told the president that the U.S. would provide $190 million of a long-term $450 million pledge “in a good-faith effort to spur reform and help the Egyptian people at this difficult time.” The release of the rest of the $450 million and the other $550 million tranche of the $1 billion that Obama announced will be tied to successful reforms, officials said.

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