Tunisian FM hails Italy’s support over IMF loan

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Tunisia’s foreign minister has hailed “Italy’s clear understanding of the … need to support the … economic recovery underway” in his country.

Nabil Ammar was speaking on Friday night at a ceremony in the residence of Italy’s ambassador in Tunis on the occasion of Italy’s National Day. The event was attended by representatives of Tunisia’s government and business community.

Ammar thanked Italy for all its efforts to explain Tunisia’s viewpoint to other countries regarding negotiations for a loan of nearly $1.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF requires Tunisia’s government to carry out a series of reforms before giving the loan. However, Tunisia is asking for a first tranche of funding to be released immediately by the IMF, while the rest of the loan can be paid in line with the progress of reforms.

Ammar described Italy’s backing of Tunisia on this point as “intelligent and constructive.” He recalled that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni urged the IMF at last month’s G7 Summit to adopt a “practical” approach to disbursing funds to Tunisia “without preconditions.”

Ammar stressed that the challenges facing all Mediterranean countries and others worldwide on migration “go beyond the capacities of individual states and require all of us to raise solidarity to the level of a fundamental value more quickly than ever before.”

He expressed his hope that the proposal by Tunisian President Kais Saied to organize a regional conference on migration will be accepted “so that this phenomenon can be effectively tackled in a way that takes account of the humanitarian dimension.”

Saied made the proposal during his meeting in Tunis with Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi on May 15.

Meloni and Saied on Friday night discussed bilateral relations during a phone call. According to a press release by Meloni’s office, she accepted Saied’s invitation to pay an official visit to Tunisia next week.

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