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Mideast Forum Announces New Initiatives

  • VOA News

A conference on Middle Eastern reform has adopted two US-backed initiatives aimed at promoting economic, democratic and political reform. The "Forum on the Future," in Bahrain, announced a 100-million-dollar fund to promote economic enterprise in the region, where there is a growing population and rising unemployment among the young. The United States will contribute 50-million dollars to the fund. Egypt and Morocco have also pledged significant contributions. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Forum that "for democracy to achieve lasting and sustainable success, it must also be nurtured by a vibrant economy and an ever-growing middle class." A 50-million-dollar "Foundation for the Future" was also announced. It will promote democracy and political reform in the region. However, plans to adopt a final declaration were scrapped after Egypt's delegation insisted on language that would have given Arab governments greater control over non-governmental organizations.
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