Gul: "Mideast countries that choose democracy should get economic help"
US President Barack Obama's reference to creating a Palestinian state based on Israel's pre-1967 borders is "a very important step," said President Abdullah Gul on Friday. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal one day after a major Obama address on the Middle East, Gul also praised Obama's pledge of debt relief and aid for Egypt and Tunisia in the wake of their "Arab Spring" revolutions, but added that a much larger-scale "Marshall Plan" for the Mideast is needed. "Such a fund should be run by the World Bank and draw on contributions from countries in the region, as well as from traditional donors in the West, Mr. Gul said," reported the paper. "Initially open to Tunisia and Egypt only, the fund should then open to other countries in the Middle East as they clearly opt for democracy, he said."