Egyptian cenbank pays back $1 billion debt owed to Qatar

Egypt has returned to Qatar $1 billion deposited by the Gulf state to help prop up the Egyptian central bank’s hard currency reserves after the 2011 uprising, the central bank governor said on Friday.

Cairo’s relations with Qatar deteriorated after the Egyptian army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. Qatar had been a firm backer of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and lent or gave Egypt $7.5 billion during the year he was in power.

Central bank governor Tarek Amer told Reuters in a text message replying to a question about whether Egypt had paid $1 billion to Qatar, “Yes, definitely,” but he did not elaborate.

The $1 billion Qatar received is the last of Egypt’s debts to the wealthy Gulf Arab country, according to the Egyptian state news agency MENA.

Oil-rich Gulf countries have supported Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state, with billions of dollars in aid since Mursi’s fall following mass unrest against his rule.

Qatar, a small gas-exporting country which provided billions in grants, loans, and energy supplies to Egypt under Mursi, asked that the central bank deposits be paid back after the Islamist leader’s ouster.

Egypt has been struggling economically since a 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, putting pressure on foreign reserves which halved to $17.5 billion in May.


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