You know, except for all that ‘kill the Joooos’ and ‘Islam will rule the world’ rhetoric.
WASHINGTON — Nearly 16 months after first pledging to help Egypt’s failing economy, the Obama administration is nearing an agreement with the country’s new government to relieve $1 billion of its debt as part of an American and international assistance package intended to bolster its transition to democracy, administration officials said.
The administration’s efforts, delayed by Egypt’s political turmoil and by wariness in Washington about new leaders emerging from its first free elections, gained new urgency in recent weeks, even as the United States risks losing influence and investment opportunities to countries like China. President Mohamed Morsi chose China for his first official visit outside of the Middle East.
In addition to the debt assistance, the administration has thrown its support behind a $4.8 billion loan being negotiated between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund. Last week, it dispatched the first of two delegations to work out details of the proposed debt assistance, as well as $375 million in financing and loan guarantees for American financiers who invest in Egypt and a $60 million investment fund for Egyptian businesses. [...]
Mr. Morsi and his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have since made it clear that the struggling economy is their most urgent priority, brushing aside reservations about American and international assistance and outright opposition to it from other Islamic factions.
In fact, American officials say they have been surprised by how open Mr. Morsi and his advisers have been to economic changes, with a sharp focus on creating jobs.
“They sound like Republicans half the time,” one administration official said, referring to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic movement turned political party that was long barred from office under the former president, Hosni Mubarak, a close American ally.