President Barack Obama will announce this week a new aid plan for the Middle East and North Africa that U.S. officials say will be far bolder than previous American economic assistance to the region.
Mr. Obama will outline the plan, which could include debt cancellation and a reprogramming of financial aid the U.S. already provides to countries like Egypt, in a speech he is scheduled to deliver Thursday at the State Department.
Whatever aid he announces, though, is unlikely to assuage Arab governments, which had been hoping the White House would push forcibly for a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. The president’s aides say his speech will focus only briefly on the issue.
Mr. Obama met Tuesday with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who has been pressing U.S. officials to take a more aggressive role in the peace process, according to Arab diplomats.
After the meeting, Mr. Obama said the U.S. will provide Jordan with hundreds of millions of dollars through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the government institution that finances and insures private business to promote economic growth. The result, according to the U.S., will be roughly $1 billion for economic activity in Jordan. The president also pledged 50,000 metric tons of wheat.