U.S. President Barack Obama says he plans to designate Tunisia as a major non-NATO ally after meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at the White House. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday (May 21) that he plans to designate Tunisia as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, recognizing the country's democratic progress after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. After a meeting with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, where the leaders discussed instability in Libya and the region, Obama said the United States will provide short-term aid so Tunisia can complete economic reforms. The United States is prepared to consider a loan guarantee to Tunisia of up to $500 million if the funding is needed to help advance economic reforms, the White House said on Thursday. Obama told reporters in the Oval Office that it was gratifying to hear of Tunisia's transformation to democracy and said it was important to expand assistance to Tunisia so that its citizens can benefit from the economy.