G8 commits to supporting Arabs, 40 bln USD for Tunisia, Egypt (2)

10:46, May 28, 2011      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attends a press conference during the G8 summit, in Deauville, northwestern France, on May 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

Western leaders are concerned that without urgent action to stimulate the economies of North Africa and the Middle East and generate jobs for young people, the anger and frustration which sparked the protests might find a new outlet in extremism or precipitate an exodus of immigrants flooding across the Mediterranean to Europe.

"Those young Tunisians today looking for work are impatient," Tunisia's Finance Minister Jelloul Ayed told reporters.

"If the Tunisians don't feel very quickly that democracy is creating the conditions for them to feel better, more prosperous, then we run the risk that the democratic process will fail," he warned after joining the G8 talks.

Half the 40 billion dollars will come from international development banks, 10 billion dollars will come from rich Gulf countries and 10 billion dollars from bilateral donations from G8 members.

Of that, Sarkozy said France would contribute 1 billion euros (some 1.41 billion dollars). Obama has earmarked 2 billion dollars in loan assistance to Egypt. Britain announced 175 million dollars for the two countries and the European Commission has come up with an extra 1.2 billion euros (some 1.69 billion dollars) for the wider region.

More money is expected to come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in a communication to the G8, said it could make 35 billion dollars available to countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

"If we fail to support these countries, we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people," British Prime Minister David Cameron said after the summit. "You would see, I believe, if we fail, more terrorism, more immigration and more instability coming from Europe's southern border."


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