WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The United States views the International Monetary Fund's proposed $12 billion bailout for Egypt as "essential" and is working with G7 economic powers to ensure that it is fully funded with bilateral financing, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday.
Nathan Sheets, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, told a policy forum that the United States supports the IMF's Egypt program and believes that reforms required by the IMF will be challenging, but are necessary to liberalize Egypt's economy and make it more competitive.
Egypt needs to arrange up to $6 billion in bilateral gap financing before the IMF board can approve the program. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said earlier on Tuesday that about 60 percent of the total had been secured. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Bill Rigby)