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Wed 10 Apr 2013 02:22 PM

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Qatar agrees to buy $3bn of Egypt bonds

Qatar's prime minister announces deal to supply additional aid to North African country

Qatar agrees to buy $3bn of Egypt bonds

The Qatari government has agreed to provide an additional $3bn of aid to Egypt, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said on Wednesday.

"We reached an agreement to add more bonds from the Qatari government in the amount of $3bn. During the coming days, we will discuss the details of issuing those bonds," Sheikh Hamad told a joint news conference with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.

He did not clarify the way in which the aid would be structured. Kandil told the news conference that the aid would be in the form of "bond deposits", also without elaborating.

Sheikh Hamad said Qatar would supply natural gas to Egypt in the summer when it was needed. "We also discussed projects that we agreed on four or five years ago, especially in iron and steel," he said.

Qatar did not ask Egypt for anything in return for its latest aid, Sheikh Hamad added.

The gas-rich Gulf state has already provided Cairo with $5bn in loans and grants since Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was elected last year.

But there have been signs of disagreement in recent months; for example, Egypt's financial regulator is holding up a proposed joint venture between QInvest, majority owned by Qatar Islamic Bank, and Egypt's EFG Hermes, a leading Middle East investment bank.

Kandil told the news conference that Egypt's relations with Qatar were fine and that media reports of tensions were wrong. The two leaders did not mention the QInvest deal during their appearance.

The visit by Kandil to Doha follows three days of preparatory meetings by Egyptian central bank governor Hisham Ramez in Qatar.

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