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Obama To Deliver Major Middle East Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama is due today to deliver a major speech on his Middle East policy in which he is expected to focus on the political upheaval sweeping the Arab world.

Obama is also expected to promise economic aid to nations that embrace democratic reforms.

According to officials, Obama will offer aid packages to Egypt and Tunisia, two countries that have overthrown their authoritarian rulers.

In particular, officials say Obama will offer Egypt up to $1 billion in debt relief.

According to the White House, Obama will also spell out a plan to reorient the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support the Middle East and North Africa region just as it helped countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Obama is also expected to call for a renewal of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and to sharply criticize Syria for its bloody crackdown on protesters.

compiled from agency reports