Cairo- Egypt’s president has said his country’s 2011 Arab Spring revolt was an ill-advised attempt at change whose chaotic aftermath posed an existential threat to the nation.

Addressing an international youth conference late Sunday, Abdul Fattah Al Sissi said those behind the revolt had good intentions but had inadvertently “opened the gates of hell.”

Al Sissi had until recently only hinted at his disapproval of the uprising that ended the 29-year rule of Hosni Mubarak. In his first outright criticism of the uprising, he said last month it was the “wrong remedy that followed a wrong diagnosis.”

But his comments at the youth forum provided his most detailed assessment of the uprising, which pro-government media routinely demonise as a foreign conspiracy to destroy the country.

On Sunday, he said the uprising created a “massive vacuum that only the evil people can fill” and warned against a repeat. He said Egyptians and others in the region would be better off under “not so good” rulers than living through chaos.

“Work, be patient, endure and suffer under the reality that you disapprove of, but don’t ruin your countries because they will never return to what they once were,” he warned.

“After all the effort we have done, all that we are hoping for is that we go back to where we were before 2011,” he said.