US to give Tunisia $100 million for debt relief

The Obama administration says it will give $100 million in cash to Tunisia for short-term debt relief as the North African country struggles to improve its economy after the ouster of its long-time authoritarian leader last year.

The move, which will require congressional approval, was announced on Thursday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has visited Tunisia twice since its revolution sparked the unrest that is now sweeping the Arab world. Clinton said the money would go to pay Tunisia's debt to the World Bank and African Development Bank.

The assistance will come in addition to a loan guarantee agreement that Washington and Tunis are now negotiating that would see the U.S. provide $30 million in collateral to seek hundreds of millions of dollars from international capital markets.