TUNIS, April 1 Tunisia expects to sign a $1.7
billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund next
month after a delay due to the crisis that followed the killing
of an opposition politician in February, the finance minister
was quoted as saying on Monday.
A report on Al-Arabiya television quoted Elyess Fakhfakh as
saying the precautionary loan agreement would be reached "by
Last week, the IMF said it would send a team to Tunis
between April 8 and 15 to discuss the loan.
Tunisia plunged into crisis on Feb. 6 as the assassination
of secular politician Chokri Belaid ignited the biggest street
protests since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben
Ali two years ago. But a new government has now been formed and
protests have died down.
Al-Arabiya also quoted Fakhfakh as saying Tunisia planned to
issue its first sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bond, in July to
raise $700 million.
Tunisia's government, led by moderate Islamists, is keen to
develop Islamic finance, which was neglected for ideological
reasons by Ben Ali's government. A Tunisian sukuk issue could
potentially attract large amounts of Islamic funds from the