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Tunisia: Washington backs IMF aid

Tunisia: Washington backs IMF aid
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media in the State Department Treaty Room in Washington on 12 June 2023.   -  
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Mandel Ngan/AP


On Monday, the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken called on Tunisia, a country strangled by debt and grappling with migration issues, to accept an IMF reform plan in order to avoid economic collapse.

"It is clear that Tunisia needs more help if it is to avoid plunging into an economic abyss", Mr Blinken told the press alongside his Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani.

The United States would "welcome the Tunisian government presenting a revised reform plan to the IMF and the IMF being able to act on that plan," he told a press conference.

"The stability of Tunisia and the stability of Libya is crucial for the stability of the Mediterranean region", said Mr. Tajani, whose country is at the forefront of this issue.

Tunisia is holding difficult talks with the international organization to obtain a new loan of two billion dollars, but President Kais Saied is refusing to accept the reforms advocated, which include restructuring more than 100 heavily indebted public companies and lifting state subsidies on certain basic products.

For its part, on Sunday the European Union offered Tunisia a "strengthened partnership" accompanied by promises of financial aid, at the end of a visit to Tunis by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Ministers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, and the Netherlands, Mark Rutte.

Mrs. von der Leyen spoke of "macro-financial assistance of up to €900 million", which would complement the IMF's $2 billion loan.

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