Government reaches agreement with Arab investors over state-owned land

Egypt’s government has reached a settlement with certain Arab investors regarding state-owned land they purchased from the Egyptian government at low prices, Fayza Abouelnaga, the minister for international cooperation, said on Monday.

The investors had filed lawsuits against the Egyptian government regarding the land deals, which Egypt has sought to rescind since the uprising last winter.

“The settlements include withdrawing all legal actions filed by the Egyptian government and the investors. It also includes an agreement that there will be no international arbitration,” said Abouelnaga.

After a cabinet meeting on Monday, she told reporters that the government is negotiating with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates regarding the economic aid they had promised to provide to Egypt.

She added that the government reached a similar settlement in disputes with Egyptian investors.

Challenges to sales of state-owned land during Mubarak's three-decade tenure sparked the worse crisis in years for Egypt's real estate industry, before his removal from power sent the wider economy into a tailspin.

On Sunday, the government announced that it had withdrawn 2,100 hectares of land from some of the country's leading businessmen because they had failed to develop it, a minister who heads a committee investigating failures in industry said on Sunday.

The land to the northwest of the Suez Canal was withdrawn from businessmen, including steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, a former senior official in the party of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, and telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, according to sources familiar with the situation.

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