Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
US corporate leaders will organize talks next month to connect American investors with new partners in the Middle East's emerging democracies, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
Clinton told Muslim community leaders the event's organizers
are the Partners for a New Beginning, a group led by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Mukhtar Kent of Coca Cola and the Aspen Institute's Walter Isaacson.
"These leaders will convene a summit at the end of May to connect American investors with new partners in the region's transitional democracies with an eye toward creating jobs and boosting trade," the chief US diplomat said.
Also involved in Partners for a New Beginning, which was formed after President Barack Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo, are the chief executive officers of companies like Intel, Cisco and Morgan Stanley.
The organization has already promoted a "network of public and private partners and programs that deepen economic integration among the countries in North Africa," Clinton told the US-Islamic World Forum.
In Algiers in December, she recalled, the Partnership brought together more than 400 young entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists and leaders from the Arab diaspora in the United States and North Africa.
A follow-up meeting is planned for later this year in Morocco.
"These people-to-people contacts have already helped lay the groundwork for cross-border initiatives to create jobs, train youth and support start-ups," said Clinton.
Over the long-term, she said, Washington wants to "encourage closer economic integration across the region as well as with the United States, Europe and the rest of the world."
"Forging deeper trade and economic relationships between neighbors could create many, many new jobs," Clinton said.
"The people of the Middle East and North Africa have the talent, they have the drive to build vibrant economies and sustainable democracies just as citizens have done in regions long held back by closed political and economic systems."
She earlier recalled how the wave of Arab democracy movements was fueled by the frustration of young people over deep unemployment, widespread corruption and lack of opportunities for women.
"Changing leaders won't be enough to satisfy them," she said. "Not if cronyism and closed economies continue to choke off opportunity and participation."