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Libya Yet to Decide on Financial Aid to Egypt, Premier Says

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March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Libya has yet to decide on providing financial aid to Egypt, Prime Minister Ali Zaidan said, stressing relations between the North African neighbors were good.

According to reports this week, Libya deposited $2 billion in the cash-strapped nation’s Central Bank as its government detained and moved to extradite Muammar Qaddafi-era regime figures. While the deposit has been discussed, it “hasn’t been decided,” Zaidan told reporters in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Egyptian authorities said on March 19 that they arrested Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, a cousin of Qaddafi, on an Interpol warrant. Two other Libyans, including the oil-rich nation’s former ambassador to Egypt, were also taken into custody.

“The matter of handing over those who are in Cairo, that’s a matter that has been brought up and the relations are continuing,” Zaidan said. “Relations with Egypt are good.”

Egypt has been struggling to recover from the aftershocks of the 2011 uprising that pushed Hosni Mubarak from power. The revolution battered the economy, leaving it with its slowest growth in two decades, a weakening currency, dwindling foreign reserves and a political polarization pitting Islamists against secularists. The government is trying secure a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan, and has received loans, deposits and other aid from other nations, including Qatar.

Zaidan, who has himself been struggling to restore order in a country wracked by violence and instability since Qaddafi’s ouster and killing, said he hoped difficulties in disarming various groups would be resolved within “months.” He also said a new draft energy law had yet to be drawn up, and that elections may take “a long time to happen.”

The main task of Zaidan’s government is to oversee the drafting of a constitution and organize elections for a permanent government, a process that has been beset by delays.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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