February 2, 2020 / 4:21 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Algeria to give Tunisia $150 mln deposit loan - Algerian president

(Adds context and quotes)

TUNIS, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Algeria will deposit $150 million in Tunisia as a loan, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Sunday at a news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied.

Tunisia has a large public debt burden while neighbouring Algeria, a major energy exporter, is trying to reduce its own state deficits since oil and gas revenues have fallen sharply in recent years.

“As Tunisia is in a difficult economic period, we decided that Algeria will put a deposit with $150 million in Tunisia’s central bank. We agreed to facilitate Tunisia’s payment of the gas and fuel bill,” Tebboune said in the news conference, which was broadcast online by the Tunisian presidency.

Saied’s visit to Algeria is the first since he was elected in October. Tebboune was elected in December in a vote that was opposed by a large protest movement.

Tunisia and Algeria are both neighbours of Libya and are both concerned by the escalation of the conflict there in recent months.

“Tunisia and Algeria want to make a solution for Libya with meetings in Tunisia or Algeria, to start a new stage there by building institutions and holding elections,” Tebboune said. (Reporting By Tarek Amara, writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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