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Its reserves tapped by revolution, Egypt
'on the brink of bankruptcy'

CAIRO — Egypt, less than eight months after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, has reached the edge of bankruptcy.


Officials said Egypt has exhausted its foreign currency reserves amid nearly a year of labor and political unrest. They said the ouster of Mubarak in February, accompanied by numerous strikes, have slowed down such vital industries as energy and tourism.

"Egypt is going through a critical period and is on the brink of bankruptcy," Egyptian Manpower and Immigration Minister Ahmed Borai said.

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This marked the first time that Egypt's post-Mubarak regime has warned of economic collapse. The United States has been negotiating with the military regime for $1 billion in emergency aid, comprised of the elimination of debt.

In a symposium on Oct. 5, Borai said the ouster of Mubarak has sparked what he termed unrealistic demands by labor and political groups, Middle East Newsline reported. The minister said Egypt was sinking in a morass of debt and unemployment that has reached four million.

"The losses are growing daily," Bora told executives. "Either we band together and change the current situation or let Egypt be destroyed."

The tourism industry, which garnered $12 billion per year, has been hurt by a slowdown by air traffic controllers after their promised bonus was rescinded. On Oct. 6, thousands of passengers were stranded by the delay of more than 200 flights at Cairo International Airport.

The military regime, under increasing criticism from the United States, has sought to ban labor strikes. Borai said he supported such a measure to save and eventually restructure the economy.

"The best way for improving the current situation is to create more work opportunities," Borai said.

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