French president says Tunisia's debt to be changed into development projects

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France's president has proposed taking at least some of Tunisia's billion euros of debt to his country and turning it into development projects.

Speaking to Tunisia's elected assembly, Francois Hollande promised Friday to also mobilize fellow G-8 countries and the European Union to help Tunisia's ailing economy.

Hollande's two-day visit is aimed at repairing relations with the North African country. Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, had close ties with dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in January 2011.

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring pro-democracy movement, has been hard hit economically since the revolution and has been forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund.

Hollande added that Tunisia, which is ruled by moderate Islamists elected after the revolution, showed Islam and democracy were compatible.