WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday hailed the progress in Tunisia's transition process, pledging an additional 500 million dollars in loan guarantee to the North African country.
Prior to his meeting with Tunisia's Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa at the White House, Obama told reporters: "We have seen an amount of progress" in Tunisia despite challenges, citing different factions coming together and the adoption of a new " representative" constitution.
Obama said Tunisia is creating foundations for a society "that can thrive in the global environment," and the United States "has a huge investment in making sure Tunisia's experiment is successful."
He announced more loan guarantee to Tunisia to facilitate its access to international capital markets, which the White House later put at 500 million dollars, on top of 485 million dollars offered in 2012.
Jomaa, who took office in late January, said: "We are set on the road map." He said he is proud of the new constitution but his country needs to "focus on the future."
He welcomed U.S. financial support, saying it would help his country achieve "stability and democracy."
In a joint statement released by the White House, the prime minister spoke of progress in finalizing an election law, and his commitment to holding "free, fair and transparent" parliamentary and presidential elections by the end of this year.
The statement said the two leaders reaffirmed the strategic partnership between their countries, as the inaugural session of the U.S.-Tunisia Strategic Dialogue was held on Thursday at the U. S. State Department.
They also emphasized their commitment to advancing the shared interests in a secure, stable and prosperous Maghreb, Africa and Middle East and promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.