21 March 2014

Tunisia: Three Gulf Countries to Provide Financial Assistance to Tunisian Budget, According to Foreign Minister

Tunis, — Minister of Foreign Affairs Mongi Hamdi reported the readiness expressed by the Gulf countries to assist Tunisia, economically, notably in terms of investments to overcome the immediate economic difficulties, "by improving its budget." He cited in particular, the state of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.

The amount of the financial assistance to be provided to the Tunisian government by these three countries will be set during the next meetings of the respective joints committees, he specified.

During a meeting with the press in Tunis, meant to take stock of the trip that Prime Minister Mehdi Jomâa had paid to five Arab Gulf countries. According to him, it was agreed that the investors of these countries will shortly visit Tunisia to examine the feasibility of some key projects. This is also the case of co-operation between Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, the economic city of Enfidha, the international deep water port in Rades and the Tunis Sport City.

The Minister also said that Kuwait had requested Tunisia to facilitate the work of Kuwaiti investors.

All the projects agreed with the Gulf countries will be implemented under the shape of foreign direct investment (FDI) in partnership with the Tunisian businessmen and as part of taking into account the national interest, Hamdi specified, estimating that the projects in question will contribute to resolve the problem of unemployment, improve the situation in the underprivileged areas and favour the development of agriculture.

The Gulf countries voiced will to engage the services of the Tunisian technical skills and in matters of security co-operation. The United Arab Emirates expressed readiness to provide equipment for the Tunisian security forces, he further said.

According to the Foreign Minister, "the Tunisian diplomatic action had focused, earlier, on Europe while the Gulf countries hold a vanguard position on the Arab and Islamic levels and plays a key role in the world." This tendency should be corrected, he said, underlining that this was one of the objectives of the Prime Minister's journey in the Gulf countries.

He also noted that the Tunisian relations with the Gulf countries and the level of exchanges are "below the expectations" and that "this visit aimed to hoist the relations to higher levels and sell Tunisia's destination."

Describing them as "excellent", Hamdi said that the visits to the five Gulf countries had allowed to tackle the relations of political, economic and security co-operation and explain the progress achieved by Tunisia in its transition process.

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