Sat 20 May 2023 2:58 pm - Jerusalem Time

Meloni urges the IMF to allocate assistance to Tunisia

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called on Saturday, during the G7 summit in Japan, for the International Monetary Fund to adopt a "pragmatic" approach to disbursing financing to Tunisia without preconditions.

"Tunisia is in a very difficult situation, with clear political fragility and imminent risk of default," she said during a session with the other leaders of the seven major industrialized countries.

And she added, according to statements conveyed by her delegation, that "negotiations between the International Monetary Fund and Tunisia are, in fact, stalled."

According to Meloni, the international financial institution is showing "intransigence" because it "did not obtain" from Tunisian President Kais Saied "all the necessary guarantees."

"On the one hand, it is understandable, but on the other hand, is this intransigence the best way forward? If this government falls, do we know the alternatives? I think this approach must be practical, otherwise we risk exacerbating an already bad situation," she said.

On the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Meloni met with the Director-General of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to discuss "the issue of migration, and in particular Tunisia," according to the same Italian source.

"They were joined by US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for a short period," the same source said.

France also considers completing an aid program between Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund a "priority".

Tunisia, which is heavily indebted at the level of 80% of the gross domestic product, obtained preliminary approval from the International Monetary Fund in mid-October to obtain a new loan of about two billion dollars to help it overcome its serious financial crisis.

But the talks reached a dead end due to the lack of a firm commitment from Tunisia to restructure more than 100 public institutions burdened with debt and to remove subsidies on some basic products.

Westerners worry about the lack of progress and the possible collapse of the Tunisian economy. In Europe, leaders, including Meloni, fear that this will lead to a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving on European shores.


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Meloni urges the IMF to allocate assistance to Tunisia