20 May 2011

Obama announces Mid-East reform policy

10:09 pm on 20 May 2011

US President Barack Obama says a ''new chapter in American diplomacy'' has been turned since the Arab Spring.

In a speech at the State Department on Thursday, Mr Obama said the future of the United States was bound to North Africa and the Middle East by forces of economics, security, history and fate.

He said it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform and to support transitions to democracy.

Mr Obama said the US also opposes the use of violence and oppression.

''We have a chance to show that America values the dignity of a street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator,'' he said.

Other key points in the speech included a massive cut in debt in Tunisia and Egypt.

Mr Obama also said the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state should be based on pre-1967 borders - those that existed before the Six-Day War. These include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

He said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more urgent than ever.