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G8 Pledges $40 Billion For 'Arab Spring' Countries

Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialized countries have agreed on a $40 billion aid and loan package for fledgling democracies in the Arab world.

The final statement of a G8 summit in Deauville, France, did not put a figure on financial support for so-called Arab Spring countries, where popular protests have rattled or unseated authoritarian governments in North Africa and the Middle East.

But French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the $40 billion figure includes the total amount of pledges from multilateral institutions and individual donor countries around the world.

Speaking at the end of the summit -- which gathered the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States -- Sarkozy said the so-called Deauville Partnership plan would make the aid and loans contingent on the implementation of democratic reforms and proof that authorities are fighting corruption.

"We should be in no doubt. If we get this wrong, if we fail to support these countries, we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people," British Prime Minister David Cameron said to explain why supporting fledgling Arab democracies is crucial. "We would see, I believe, if we failed, more terrorism, more immigration, more instability coming from Europe's southern border and that affects us right back at home."

Part of the Deauville Partnership plan includes an agreement by the G8 leaders to extend the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support the transition in Egypt and Tunisia.

compiled from agency reports