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Egypt: IMF loan deal ‘within two weeks’ as protesters gather in Cairo

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s government expects an agreement on a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF within weeks, as protestors gathered in Cairo to oppose the deal.

Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby on Thursday said the government will reach a final agreement with the IMF within two weeks, the state news agency MENA reported.

Araby also said that Egypt had not requested an increase in the amount of the loan.

An IMF team arrived in Egypt on Wednesday and is expected to stay until April 15.

The delegation received an angry welcome from protestors at a rally in downtown Cairo.

Those against the IMF loan said the money will only benefit the rich and the deal should be stopped. One protester held a flyer with the words "danger, no to loans that lead to poverty" in Arabic.

Former presidential candidate Khaled Ali filed a lawsuit with the prosecutor’s office against President Mursi and others over the IMF loan request, according to a statement by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, which he heads. The suit accuses Mursi and others of trying to sidestep parliamentary approval for the loan.

Proponents of the IMF loan say it is vital to ease the deepening economic crisis in the most populous Arab country.

Egypt has seen foreign-currency reserves fall to a critically low level, limiting its ability to to buy wheat and fuel.