On the horizon
US Vice President Mike Pence is expected to arrive in Egypt next week amid ongoing (if relatively muted) opposition from regional governments to President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Pence is expected to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, but Egypt’s most prominent and senior religious figures, including Pope Tawadros II and the head of Al Azhar, have said they would decline to sit with him over the Jerusalem decision. Pence had said that, among other things, he will push for greater protection for the Middle East’s Christian population.
The IMF may disburse the third USD 2 bn tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility as late as January, according to a report in the domestic press. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy had previously said that the disbursal is expected before the end of December. The IMF’s Executive Board will meet on 20 December to review progress on Egypt’s economic reform program ahead of voting to disburse the third tranche.