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Egypt pays back $1bn 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. 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.

Qatar asked that the central bank deposits be paid back after the fall of Egyptian army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 following mass unrest against his rule.

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. – Reuters

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