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Morsi will not meet IMF delegation: Egyptian presidential spokesman

Omar Amer says that 'real negotiations are taking place' to change the value of a prospective IMF loan, while tens of protesters reject IMF financing Wednesday, saying it will harm the country

Ahram Online, Wednesday 3 Apr 2013
Morsi and Lagarde
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi (R) speaks with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (Photo: Reuters)
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Commissioned minister and Presidential Spokesman Omar Amer said Wednesday that President Mohamed Morsi "will not meet with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation” visiting Egypt, according to Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website.

The delegation arrived Tuesday to resume negotiations with the Egyptian government over a planned $4.8 billion loan.

Amer explained during Wednesday’s press conference at the Presidential Palace that “There are real negotiations to change the loan’s value, because Egypt’s needs have changed over the last period, and the economic situation.”

Amer’s statement came after tens of protesters gathered in front of the High Court in central Cairo Wednesday and marched to Talaat Harb Square, in Downtown, to express their rejection of the planned IMF loan, which is yet to be signed.

Loan under fire

Ahram Online reporter Mai Shaheen reported that “The Revolutionary Socialists, the Mina Daniel Movement, the Egyptian Popular Current and a number of activists, including Khaled Ali, were mainly there to reject the loan. Protesters held posters stating the revolution continues.”

“There were no Islamists, of course,” she added.

Earlier Wednesday, the Popular Socialist Alliance (PSA) and the Egyptian Popular Current issued a statement rejecting the planned IMF loan. The Popular Socialist Alliance argued that the negative consequences of the loan have already been seen, giving the example of the rise incooking gas prices Monday, “coinciding with the arrival of the IMF delegation to Cairo Tuesday.”

Amer said in response to the increased prices of some commodities that “The president’s last meeting with D. Bassem Oudah, minister of supply, emphasised the criticality of working to ease the burden on the majority of citizens; to meet all their needs and take into consideration the social dimension in all governmental decisions.” 

“The government is doing its best to meet the citizens needs,” he added.

The PSA accused “the Muslim Brotherhood’s government” of embracing the same economic and political policies as Mubarak’s regime — policies that sparked the January 25 Revolution — calling on them to find alternatives that will ensure social justice.

Who can sign the IMF loan?

Renowned lawyer and leftist activist Khaled Ali filed a complaint against the president, the head of the Shura Council, the Council of Ministers, and the minister of finance for trying to pass the IMF loan without the agreement of the House of Representatives.

The prosecutor-general referred the complaint to the Supreme State Security Prosecution to investigate the charges Wednesday.

Ali said in the complaint: “The House of Representatives is the only entity that has the legal authority to agree to the law. The other entities are trying to reverse social and economic state policies.”

“The Shura Council is not competent to agree on the law. Article 230 in the constitution gives legislative powers to the Council and not the authority to agree on any international agreements like the IMF loan. These authorities are given only to the House of Representatives,” Ali explained. 

Parliamentary elections

Presidential Spokesman Amer refuted any relationship between the IMF loan and upcoming parliamentary elections. “It is difficult to deduce a connection between holding parliamentary elections and the IMF granting Egypt the loan,” he said.

Elections for Egypt's lower house of parliament, which was dissolved in June 2012, were scheduled to start 22 April until a court ruling deemed the present electoral law to be unconstitutional, forcing the Supreme Electoral Commission to scrap its initial timetable.

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