Egypt receives $2bn deposit from Saudi Arabia

News eases concerns of a looming political rift amid the traditional Arab allies

16:05 October 13, 2016

Cairo: Egypt has received a $2 billion deposit from Saudi Arabia, an Egyptian central bank official said on the condition of anonymity, bringing it closer to securing a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

The deposit arrived in September, another Egyptian official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

The news eases concerns of a looming political rift as Egyptian and Saudi media have increasingly traded criticisms, marking tensions in ties between the two Arab allies.

Over the past few days, some pro-government Egyptian media accused Saudi Arabia of seeking to “bring down Egypt to its knees” after the Saudi oil company Armaco halted previously agreed fuel shipments to the country.

The Egyptian Oil Ministry said this week it had been informed by Aramco that it would not deliver the oil shipments for October without giving reasons.

The suspension followed Egypt’s vote for a Russian draft resolution that called for a ceasefire in Syria but ignoring devastating bombing of the embattled city of Aleppo.

Saudi Arabia, which opposes the Russian military involvement in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, criticised the Egyptian move in public, calling it “painful”.

Following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations offered billions of dollars to Egypt.

The late Saudi king, King Abdullah, privately told US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 — the year former army chief Abdul Fattah Al Sissi was elected president — that Egypt was too important to be allowed to fail.