President Barack Obama promised to support democracy in nascent revolutions in the Middle East on Friday, saying he would push for billions of dollars in financial incentives for Egypt and Tunisia on Thursday in the wake of uprisings across the region in recent months.
Obama, in a speech from the U.S. State Department, called for an international plan to stabilize the countries' economies, $1 billion in debt relief for a democratic Egypt, and said he was working with Congress to create a $2 billion private investment fund for Egypt and Tunisia through a U.S. government private development company.
Egypt is currently under military rule after former President Hosni Mubarak resigned amid massive protests. The military has promised to move forward with constitutional reforms that will guarantee a free and fair election.
America's support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability; promoting reform; and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy - starting with Tunisia and Egypt, Obama said.
Obama said the U.S. had asked the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to present plans at next week's G-8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize the countries' economies.
The debt relief would be tied to work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship.
He also said the U.S. would help Egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing to finance infrastructure and job creation.
And we will help newly democratic government recover assets that were stolen, Obama said.
The U.S. government finance institution for development finance OPIC would also soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investments in the region, he said.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development would also be refocused to provide support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa.