CAIRO (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Egypt to work harder and make compromises for ending its political divisions, as he pledged $250 million in US aid to revive the country's dilapidated economy.

On Sunday, Kerry wrapped up his two-day visit to Egypt with a "candid and constructive" meeting with Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in which he called on the bitterly divided Egyptian political factions to unite. "It is clear that more hard work and compromise will be required to restore unity, political stability and economic health to Egypt," Kerry told Mursi, according to a statement issued by the top US diplomat.

Kerry also told Mursi that the United States was now offering $250 million in aid to Egypt aimed at helping the country's economy. "Today I advised him the United States will now provide the first $190 million of our pledged $450 million in budget support funds," Kerry said, adding Washington also pledged an additional $60 million for a new joint Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund.

The aid was pledged after "Mursi's assurance that he plans to complete the IMF process," the statement said, referring to a $4.8 billion loan Egypt is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund. The loan would help restore investor and foreign lenders' confidence in Egypt, which has suffered a sharp economic decline since the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

On Saturday, after flying in to Cairo from Turkey, Kerry stressed on the importance of the IMF loan in his meeting with Egypt's business leaders. "It is paramount, essential, urgent that the Egyptian economy gets stronger, that it gets back on its feet," he said. "It is clear to us that the IMF arrangement needs to be reached. So we need to give the marketplace the confidence."

Kerry said Washington was prepared to help Egypt, which has seen its foreign currency reserves slide to a critical level and the Egyptian pound lose around eight percent against the dollar. On Saturday, Kerry urged Egyptian political and business leaders to reach a consensus, after months of political turmoil and unrest in the country. "We do believe that in this moment of economic challenge that it is important for the Egyptian people to come together around the economic choices and to find some common ground in making those choices," Kerry told reporters after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Kamel Amr. Kerry's visit comes with Egypt deeply divided between Mursi's mainly Islamist allies and a wide-ranging opposition that accuses the president of failing to address the country's economic needs and political concerns.

A US State Department official travelling with him told reporters that "the primary goal here is to encourage his - to encourage his work that he did with Israelis in getting the Gaza ceasefire." He was referring to Egyptian-mediated truce that ended eight days of fighting in November between Israel and Islamist Hamas.

Meanwhile, a retrial of ex-president Hosni Mubarak, jailed for life for his role in the deaths of protesters in 2011, is to open on April 13, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported on Sunday.

Mubarak, former interior minister Habib al-Adly and six top security chiefs will be retried on orders of the Court of Cassation, Egypt's top appeals court, over the hundreds of killings during the 2011 uprising which ousted him from power. The court agreed in January on a retrial for Mubarak, 84, who appealed against his life sentence for involvement in the deaths. The April 13 date was decided by the president of the Cairo appeals court, Samir Abul Maati, MENA said, adding that Mubarak's sons Alaa and Gamal as well as fugitive businessman Hussein Salem would also be in the docks.

Meanwhile, Egypt's constitutional court on Sunday threw out complaints against an Islamist-dominated assembly that drafted the country's divisive constitution, the official MENA news agency reported.

The complaints had challenged the method in which the members of the assembly had been chosen. The hastily prepared charter was passed in a referendum in December. The complaints also said the panel, which was boycotted by liberals and Christians before it finished the charter, was not representative of all Egyptians.

The opposition argues that some clauses in the new charter bolstered Islamic law in the country of 83 million people which has a large Christian minority. The court is still looking into yet more challenges against the assembly. Islamist President Mohamed Mursi had sparked months of unrest in Egypt when he adopted a decree in November granting himself extensive powers and immunising the assembly from annulment by the court. He reversed his decree after the charter's adoption in a referendum.

In the meantime, protesters clashed with police Sunday in the Egyptian city of Port Said as the interior ministry decided to move 39 prisoners awaiting a verdict over alleged involvement in a deadly football riot, a security official said. The verdict, expected next Saturday, is for the remaining defendants in a case which resulted in death sentences in January for 21 defendants, sparking clashes that killed at least 40 people.

A security official said protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at the police station in the restive Suez Canal city, where a general strike entered its third week. Police responded with tear gas.

The interior ministry said it decided to move prisoners from Port Said, starting with the 39 remaining defendants over the February 2012 football violence, because it wanted to avoid unrest.

Protesters on Saturday torched a police station in Port Said and prevented fire engines from reaching the blaze.

Residents of Port Said and other canal cities have long complained that Cairo marginalises them.

Last year's football riot which killed 74 people, mostly supporters of a visiting Cairo team, exacerbated Port Said's isolation, they say.