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United States prepares aid to Egypt

Sept. 3, 2012 at 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The United States is nearing an agreement to relieve Egypt's new government of $1 billion in debt, administration officials said.

The Obama administration has also approved a $4.8 billion loan negotiated between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund, The New York Times reported Monday.

The administration's efforts come 16 months after a U.S. pledge offering help to the failing Egyptian economy. The actions were slowed by Egyptian political turmoil and by wariness about the new leaders emerging from Egypt's elections, but gained urgency after fears of losing influence and investment opportunities within Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi chose China for his first official visit outside the Middle East, the newspaper said.

The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said they have organized a trade delegation of representatives from 50 U.S. companies to visit Egypt beginning Sept. 8.

"It's important for the U.S. to give Egypt a reason to look to the West, as well as the East," said Lionel Johnson, the Chamber's vice president for the Middle East and Africa.

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