Kerry urges 'compromise' in Egypt, pledges $250 mn in aid

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr (3rdR) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (2ndR) meets with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (R) at the presidential palace in Cairo on March 3, 2013. Kerry met the Egyptian president as he wrapped up a trip to Cairo, where he urged divided factions to reach a consensus that would pave the way for economic recovery.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday to work harder to bridge the political divide in the country, as he pledged an initial $250 million in US aid for Egypt.

"It is clear that more hard work and compromise will be required to restore unity, political stability and economic health to Egypt," Kerry told Morsi, a statement issued by the top US diplomat said.

Kerry's latest remarks came as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Egypt with a "candid" meeting with Morsi.

Kerry pledged to offer $250 million as US aid to help in the recovery of Egypt's dilapidated economy.

"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, adding Washington also pledged an additional $60 million for a joint-enterprise fund.

The aid was pledged after "Morsi's assurance that he plans to complete the IMF process," the statement said, referring to a $4.8 billion loan Egypt is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund.

Egypt's Finance Minister Al-Morsi al-Sayyed Hegazi said earlier on Sunday he expected his government to reach an agreement with the IMF before parliamentary elections in April.

The loan would help restore investor and foreign lenders' confidence in Egypt, which has suffered a sharp economic decline since the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.