G8 back $40 billion aid for Tunisia and Egypt

DEAUVILLE, France Fri May 27, 2011 3:12pm BST

DEAUVILLE, France (Reuters) - Group of Eight leaders on Friday backed a $40 billion package of support for Tunisia and Egypt to help stabilize their economies after popular revolts that ousted long-time authoritarian rulers.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the plan comprised $20 billion from multilateral banks, $10 billion in bilateral deals, including 1 billion euros from France, and $10 billion from OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

He said G8 foreign and finance ministers along with Tunisian and Egyptian officials would meet in the coming months, possibly as early as July, to flesh out the details of the plan. French officials confirmed the plan was just for Tunisia and Egypt.

"We got a very strong statement of support on the part of the G8 individually and collectively," Tunisian Finance Minister Jalloul Ayed told reporters.

"We believe that in the next few weeks and months we will see that and it will be translated into a final package to help Tunisia and Egypt and we need to work on that over the next few weeks," he said.

"It's very clear that everybody wants to help us," Ayed said.

(Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Brian Love and Catherine Bremer; editing by Jon Boyle)

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