Tuesday Sep 18, 201211:59 AM GMT
US halts relief talks with Egypt over film protests in Cairo
Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo during a demonstration against a US-made anti-Islamic film on September 11, 2012.
Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo during a demonstration against a US-made anti-Islamic film on September 11, 2012.
Washington has frozen talks with Cairo on relieving $1 billion worth of Egyptian debt to the United States following massive anti-US protests in that country.


The Washington Post on Monday cited US officials as saying the talks could be delayed at least until after the November 6 presidential vote in the US.

"Folks are going to wait and see how things materialize both with the protests and on Capitol Hill," the paper quoted a congressional aide as saying.

The decision comes after days of angry protests outside the US Embassy in Cairo, along with many other capitals across the world, over a US-made video mocking the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and depicting Islam as an oppressive religion.

Washington, whose ambassador to Libya was killed upon the outbreak of protests on September 11 in Benghazi, was seriously irked after Egyptian forces hesitated to confront enraged demonstrators who scaled the US Embassy walls and pulled down the American flag.

US President Barack Obama urged his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi to express concern over the incident, and told an interviewer that Egypt's new government was neither an ally nor an enemy.

Morsi, a member of Egypt’s largest Islamic party Muslim Brotherhood, later expressed support for peaceful protests against the sacrilegious video but condemned violence against diplomatic facilities or personnel.

Cairo has asked for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which in turn urged economic reforms in post-revolution Egypt.

MRS/JR
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