CAIRO – The Egyptian president is defending the tough economic measures his government has undertaken, saying there was no other alternative in the face of deteriorating economy.
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says that "structural reforms" are an imperative for Egypt and that the measures that have been implemented are no "picnic."
El-Sissi spoke on Thursday to a gathering of clerics ahead of a major Islamic holiday.
El-Sissi's remarks were his first since the government's unprecedented floatation of the Egyptian pound last month, meant to ensure that Egypt qualifies for a 12 billion dollar loan from the IMF.
Elected in 2014, el-Sissi depended on billions of dollars of assistance from Gulf Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia but relations with the Sunni kingdom have become strained recently over regional crises, including the conflict in Syria.