Limited time for Iran nuclear talks: Kerry
Riaydh, March 4, 2013
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday there was a limited period of time available for talks between Iran and major powers about its disputed nuclear programme.
"There is a finite amount of time," Kerry, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, said of the talks between Tehran and a group of world powers.
He was speaking at a news conference held jointly with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
Earlier, in Cairo, Kerry said the US would give Egypt $250 million in budget aid after meeting Mursi and acknowledged Egypt's "extreme needs" as the Islamist government struggles with a slide in currency reserves to worryingly low levels and a soaring budget deficit.
Cairo says it wants to reopen talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion loan which was agreed in principle last November but suspended at Cairo's request due to violent street protests the following month.
"In light of Egypt's extreme needs and President Mursi's assurance that he plans to complete the IMF process, today I advised him the United States will now provide the first $190 million of our pledged $450 million in budget support funds," Kerry said in a statement at the end of a visit to Cairo.
The $190 million is part of a $1 billion pledge by US President Barack Obama in 2011 after Egypt's popular uprising.
Kerry also said the US would release $60 million for an Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, which is designed to support small and medium companies in the private sector. However, the US diplomat hinted further aid will depend on Egypt carrying out both economic and political reforms.
"The United States can and wants to do more," he said. "When Egypt takes the difficult steps to strengthen its economy and build political unity and justice, we will work with our Congress at home on additional support."
Kerry described the funds as "a good-faith effort to spur reform and help the Egyptian people at this difficult time". On Saturday he said it was "paramount, essential, urgent" that the economy get back on its feet. - Reuters