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Tunisia tells IMF conditions for financial support risk unrest

June 23, 2023 at 2:14 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied, told the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director that the Fund’s conditions to provide financial support to the North African country risks sparking civil unrest, the Tunisian presidency said on Friday, Reuters reports.

“The President of the Republic made it clear that the International Monetary Fund’s conditions for providing financial support to Tunisia are unacceptable because it would affect civil peace,” the statement read.

Saied’s remarks came during a meeting with IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, in Paris on the sidelines of a finance summit on Thursday night, the Tunisian presidency said.

READ: Tunisia officer killed in stabbing incident in front of Brazil Embassy

Tunisia’s bailout talks with the IMF have stalled for months, and there is little sign Saied is willing to agree to the steps needed to reach a deal and help the country avoid a financial crisis.

Without a loan, Tunisia faces a full-blown balance of payments crisis. Most debt is internal but there are foreign loan repayments due later this year, and credit ratings agencies have said Tunisia may default.

Saied reiterated that any required cuts to subsidies, mostly on energy and food, could have detrimental effects on the country, recalling deadly riots that hit Tunisia in 1983 after the government raised the price of bread.

“The President of the Republic stressed that he would not accept a single drop of blood being shed,” the presidency statement said, adding that Georgieva had welcomed an invitation from Saied to visit Tunisia at a yet-to-be-determined date.

READ: French press criticises Saied’s ‘gamble’ with Tunisia sovereignty; Italian FM accused of ‘racist’ remarks