The Egyptian Minister of Finance, Momtaz Saeed, has denied allegations that the Suez Canal has been mortgaged in return for huge loans.
During the presidential election, a huge debate raged over reports that the former regime had mortgaged the Suez Canal and other sovereign resources to third parties in exchange for such loans.
Saeed was speaking in response to comments by a member of the Shura Council, Naji Al-Shihabi, on Tuesday. Al-Shihabi referred to events in 2008 when, it is alleged, loans were raised against the value of the canal, and US and other Western warships were allowed passage on the way to attack Iraq. "The allegations," stressed Saeed, "are not true. Egypt did not get any loan requiring the mortgage of the Suez Canal or any other national asset."
He added that claims that national insurance funds have been used to pay off Egypt's debts, along with borrowings of more than $825 million from the US, are also untrue.