|Iran offers Egypt aid package||
TEHRAN – Iran has offered to lend money to cash-strapped Egypt, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted on Wednesday as saying.
The two countries do not have diplomatic relations but Egypt’s first Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, gave Ahmadinejad a red-carpet welcome on Tuesday when he became the first Iranian leader to visit in more than 34 years.
“I have said previously that we can offer a big credit line to the Egyptian brothers, and many services,” Ahmadinejad told the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram in an interview, Reuters reported. He did not say if there had been any response.
The president said the Iranian economy had been affected by sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program, but it is a “great economy” that was witnessing “positive matters”, saying exports were increasing gradually.
According to Reuters, Egypt disclosed on Tuesday that its foreign reserves had fallen below the $15 billion level that covers three months’ imports despite recent deposits by Qatar to support it.
Egypt’s tourism has been badly hit by unrest since the uprising that toppled authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak two years ago, and investment has stalled due to the ensuing political and economic uncertainty.
According to Reuters, Ahmadinejad said there had been scant progress on restoring ties between the Middle East’s two most populous states, broken off after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and Egypt’s signing of a peace treaty with Israel in the same year.
“No change happened in the last two years, but discussions between us developed and grew, and His Excellency President Mohamed Morsi visited Iran and met us, as he met the Iranian foreign minister. And we previously contacted Egypt to know about what is happening with Syrian affairs,” he said.
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