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Egypt's Interior Minister Won't Allow 'Militias'

Since late January, the country has been hit by relentless street protests, mainly directed against Morsi and the Brotherhood. The near-daily demonstrations have turned into clashes with police, and about 80 protesters have been killed since then.

The political turmoil is deepened by a battered economy, as the government struggles with unemployment, poverty and dangerously shrinking foreign currency reserves. On Sunday, drivers of vans used for public transportation around Cairo went on strike because of rising prices of diesel fuel, briefly blocking main roads and causing huge traffic jams.

On Sunday, the U.S. and Egypt signed a $190 million budget support agreement, pledged by U.S. State Secretary John Kerry during his visit last week.

U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson called the grant, the first installment on a planned $450 million in budget support, as "a down payment on Egypt's promising future."

Egypt has also been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan, but the talks have been delayed because of the political turmoil.

Patterson said that as Egypt works with the IMF on a program for economic stability, "we will continue to be there, as friends, to support your efforts with additional assistance," according to a statement by the U.S. Embassy.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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