$165 mln pledge for fund backing Arab democracies

TOKYO (AP) — Rich countries and international lenders have promised $165 million to a fund to provide financing for Arab nations seeking to establish democracies.

Countries participating in the Deauville Partnership, whose aim is underpin democracy and economic reform in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, announced the new "Transition Fund," following a meeting Friday in Tokyo.

The fund aims to help build economic institutions and promote reforms in countries where huge public uprisings ousted autocratic regimes and helped bring about political change.

Major western economies and wealthy oil states are the founding donors of the fund. The U.S. has pledged $50 million, Britain $25 million, Saudi Arabia $25 million and Japan and France $12 million each. Altogether commitments total $165 million.

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