WASHINGTON (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde called Egyptian President-elect Mohamed Mursi to discuss the economic challenges facing Egypt and how the international lender can best help, a spokesperson for the IMF said on Friday.
“The MD reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Egypt and looks forward to working closely with the authorities,” the spokesperson said.
She also congratulated Mursi on his election as president, “which represents an important step forward in Egypt’s transition,” the spokesperson said.
However, no timetable has been set for an IMF staff visit to Egypt to discuss a $3.2 billion IMF loan. That “will depend on the formation of the government,” the spokesperson said.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi is due to be sworn into office on Saturday, making him Egypt’s first Islamist president. He and Lagarde spoke on Thursday.
Brotherhood officials have said they plan to resume the previous government’s stop-and-start negotiations for a $3.2 billion IMF loan.
A staff visit to meet Mursi and members of his new government would be an essential part of that process.
“As we have said before, Egypt’s economic situation is challenging,” the IMF spokesperson said.
“Steps are required to re-establish confidence, restart growth, and safeguard macroeconomic stability, while protecting the most vulnerable. We will update our assessment when a staff team visits Egypt,” the IMF spokesperson said.
Reporting By Doug Palmer; editing by Todd Eastham