Tunisia delays international meeting on reforms
TUNIS - An international conference on Tunisia's political and economic reforms scheduled for this month has been pushed back by two to three months, a Tunisian foreign ministry official said on Sunday.
"This conference is not cancelled but delayed in order to prepare it well," ministry spokesman Mohamed Ben Ezzedine said.
Foreign Minister Mouldi Kefi requested the delay during a meeting on Thursday in Tunis with Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, a source said.
The leaders of France and Germany have said they will attend the meeting.
Tunisia's caretaker government was formed after the fall of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, after weeks of demonstrations and a security force crackdown that left about 200 people dead.
The European Union, which is helping Tunis organise the meeting in Carthage, last month unblocked 17 million euros ($23 million) in emergency aid and said it would extend it to 258 million euros by 2013.
The announcement had prompted Tunisia's industry minister to deride the amount as "ridiculous."
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU's financial arm, this week said it was extending more than 600 million euros in additional loans to Tunisia.