G-8 leaders pledge $20B to support Arab Spring reforms

President Obama and the other leaders of the Group of Eight issued a declaration of support for the so-called Arab Spring on Friday, pledging as much as $20 billion to political and economic reform efforts in Egypt and Tunisia and other countries in the region.

The changes there, the leaders said in their declaration, “have the potential to open the door to the kind of transformation that occurred in central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

“We hear the voice of the citizens, support their determination for equality and stand by their legitimate call for democratic, open societies and inclusive economic modernisation,” the declaration said.

International development banks could provide over $20 billion for Egypt and Tunisia, it said, through 2013, adding that the members of the G8 “are already in a position to mobilize suitable reform efforts.”

In remarks with Nicolas Sarkozy, who hosted this year’s summit in Deauville, France, Obama said the alliance would be taking steps to “fully support countries like Egypt and Tunisia, not only as they transition to democracy but also ensuring that that democratic transition is accompanied by economic growth.”