May 19 - U.S. President Barack Obama gave a much-anticipated ''Arab spring'' speech Thursday - laying out his own vision for a ''reset'' with North Africa and the Middle East. Jon Decker reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday layed out a new U.S. strategy toward the Arab world, unveiling new billion dollar economic aid packages for Egypt and Tunisia and taking a harder line against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying (English): "The Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime - including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him." Obama's speech at the State Department comes in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden and is meant to counter criticism that the President has been slow and inconsistent in responding to events in the Mideast and North Africa. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying (English): "There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be." President Obama also endorsed the Palestinians' demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. It's a move that will likely infuriate Israel and further complicate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Jon Decker, Reuters.