March 2, 2013 / 5:21 PM / 4 years ago

Egypt deal with IMF of paramount importance- Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands for a photograph with Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Arabi after their meeting in Cairo March 2, 2013.Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's need to reach a loan deal with the IMF is "paramount", U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.

Kerry also said he was certain that U.S. cooperation with Egypt can only happen if Cairo makes the right fundamental choices regarding the International Monetary Fund.

Egypt said on Thursday it would invite an IMF team to reopen talks on a $4.8 billion (3.1 billion pounds) loan, and the Investment Minister Osama Saleh expressed hope that a deal could be done by the end of April.

"It is paramount, essential, urgent that the Egyptian economy get stronger, that it gets back on its feet," Kerry told Egyptian and U.S. Executives in Cairo. "It's clear to us that the IMF arrangement needs to be reached, that we need to give the market that confidence."

The Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Mursi agreed the loan in principle last November but it was put on hold at Cairo's request during street violence the following month that flared in protest at a planned rise in taxes.

reporting by Arshad Mohammed; editing by David Stamp

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