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EU Pledges $37 Million to Guinea-Bissau


EU Pledges $37 Million to Guinea-Bissau

Funds are to help pay domestic debt and salaries of government workers

Officials in Guinea-Bissau say the European Union has pledged $37 million to help pay domestic debt and the salaries of government workers.

The Ministry of Finance says the deal was reached Thursday in the capital, Bissau, between the country's finance minister, Joao Mario Vaz, and the EU ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Franco Nulli.

Officials did not say whether the EU help is a gift or loan.

They say they will use the money to settle internal debt and pay back-wages for government workers.

The finance minister says that for the first time in several years, Guinea-Bissau will begin the new year with a budget surplus, totaling around $16.5 million.

Guinea-Bissau held a national election this year after President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in March. Former president Malam Bacai Sanha won the election in a run-off.

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and unrest since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.