France to allocate 20% of aid for democracy in Egypt and Tunisia

Paris — French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said 20 percent of France’s foreign aid will be allocated to support democratic change in Egypt and Tunisia.

Speaking to the Arab Spring Forum in Paris on Saturday, Juppe said the West should not worry about the revolutions in the Arab world. “The young people who lead those revolutions are able to protect democracy,” he said.

Juppe saluted the Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi and the Egyptian Khaled Saeed who had helped trigger the eruption of revolutions in both countries.

“Quite frankly, we were trying to blend policies supporting authoritarian regimes, who told us they were the bulwark against Islamist expansion, and others supporting democratic movements and civil society in these countries,” he explained.

“What is happening in Egypt is an example of democratic change,” he said, adding that he spoke to the youth of the revolution when he was in Cairo. “They were confident that no one would hijack their revolution.”

Ziad al-Alimy, member of the 25 January Youth Coalition, said at the forum that the Islamist trend in Egypt is not as strong as some believe. “There were half a million from religious movements out of 20 million who did the revolution,” he said.