Key Egyptian negotiator with IMF quits in potential blow to deal

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A key Egyptian negotiator with the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday he has resigned as first deputy finance minister, in a potential blow to Cairo’s prospects of an early IMF deal.

Hany Kadry Dimian has been the crucial point man in Egypt’s protracted and so far fruitless negotiations to obtain a $4.8billion loan needed to help combat a severe economic crisis.

“The only comment I can make for the time being is that yes, my term ends on April 30 according to my resignation, which I submitted in December,” Kadry told Reuters by telephone.

“My next move is not decided.”

A senior technocrat appointed in 2007, Kadry survived five finance ministers in office since the 2011 uprising that overthrew former autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Kadry gave no explanation for his decision to quit, first reported on the Egyptian dissident Rebel Economy blog, saying he would say more on Tuesday.

A senior European diplomat said his departure was not a good omen for Egypt's hopes of wrapping up a deal on the long delayed IMF loan next month, as the government has said it aims to do.

Kadry was the one expert in the ministry who fully understood the IMF program and was able to deal with the global lender professionally, the diplomat said.

The daily El-Watan said on its website that Kadry had been under increasing pressure from the ruling Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, and in conflict with Abdallah Shehata, the FJP economic adviser to Finance Minister Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy.

Abdel Shakour Shalaan, Middle East representative on the IMF board, told Al Hayat television channel he hoped Egypt could complete the loan deal within four to five weeks.

“I hope it will be completed within a month or five weeks, the end of May or the beginning June,” he said.

Separately, the head of Egypt's bourse, Mohamed Omran, told Prime Minister Hisham Kandil he would like to leave his position at the end of his term on July 1, the state news agency MENA reported, citing an unnamed official stock exchange source.

The report did not give a reason for Omran's request, but said he had told the prime minister in August he wanted to leave the post. Kandil had asked him to stay until the end of his term, MENA said.