(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, President Obama will try to convince the Arab world that the U.S. wants to shift its engagement in the region from a military one to a political and economic engagement that will help the people of the region realize their dreams.
"Having wound down the Iraq war and continuing to do so, and having taken out Osama bin Laden, we are beginning to turn the page to a more positive and hopeful future for U.S. policy in the region," a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday.
Officials say the president will likely make clear the administration's intentions to support democracy in the Middle East and North African region while centering on nonviolence, support for human rights, support for political reform and support for economic reform.
Obama will also speak about economic development as "a way of reinforcing democratic transition," the official said Wednesday. Additionally, he'll announce a series of economic initiatives focusing on Tunisia and Egypt, both of which the official says have already "begun their transitions." The hope for these initiatives would be that other countries in the region will see progress in Tunisia and Egypt enough to adopt these reforms as well.
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