Nations pledge $165 million to aid Arab Spring states


Industrialized and oil-producing countries on Thursday pledged $165 million to a World Bank fund to help ease economic transition in nations swept up in the Arab Spring popular uprisings.

The money came on the initiative of the "Deauville Partnership," which was formed after uprisings last year in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya ended decades-long dictatorships.

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The partnership includes the Group of Eight major nations as well as oil producers from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The funds announced on Thursday are meant to provide grants for economic governance, trade, investment, and inclusive development and job creation. Countries are hoping to raise a total of $250 million for this transition fund.

The United States pledged $50 million, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom gave $25 million each, while Japan will contribute $12 million over a three-year period.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Tim Ahmann)