Steve Chiotakis: Finance ministers from the world’s seven leading economies are meeting in France today. They’re talking about the European debt crisis, sure. But another thing on the agenda is the billions of dollars promised to post-revolutionary governments in Tunisia and Egypt.
Reporter Julia Simon is with us this morning from Cairo to talk about what’s at the center of the debate. Hi Julia.
Julia Simon: Hi, good morning.
Chiotakis: Are the countries in the region — and I’m talking about Egypt, Tunisia, and others — are they getting the money that they’ve been promised by the United States and others?
Simon: No, not yet. The $20 billion that the G8 promised to the region in May, the so-called Deauville Partnership on the Arab Spring — this week the Egyptian and Tunisian finance ministers announced that they still haven’t seen any of that money yet. So this weekend Egypt, Tunisia and the Libyan National Transitional Council are at the G7 arguing their case to get that money as soon as possible.
Chiotakis: Is it just mone, Julia, or is there any thing else that the revolutionary governments have been promised?
Simon: Yeah, in addition to the money, the Deauville Partnership also talks about new job creation, new free trade agreements across the Middle East — for Jordan and Morocco, too. There’s even a line in there about solar power development, but at this point a lot of it’s still just talk.
Chiotakis: Does the lack of support, I’m wondering, threaten any of the new elections?
Simon: Well, for now the elections in Tunisia still look set for October, and in Egypt for November. But the interim governments still need to think about getting through the fiscal year and Egypt especially is in loan talks with Gulf countries, thinking about its budget deficit.
But it’s important to remember that not everybody in these countries think that all this foreign money is a good thing. There are still a lot of people in this transitional period who are suspicious of foreign money and worry that it comes with strings attached.
Chiotakis: Reporter Julia Simon in Cairo. Julia, many thanks.
Simon: Thank you.
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