WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will outline plans for billions in foreign aid to Egypt and Tunisia as part of his speech on Middle East policy Thursday morning, highlighting those nations as “positive models of change” in the region, senior administration officials said.The speech at the State Department will be a major policy address designed to seize upon “a moment of opportunity” and to illustrate the United States’ commitment to helping young democracies thrive well into the future, the officials said. It also comes in the wake of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, which the administration has already dubbed a positive step for peace across the globe.A large portion of the speech will focus on U.S. economic aid for Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the region that make a successful transition to democratic governments.A senior official said Obama will outline roughly $1 billion in debt relief and investment tied to economic stability and job creation over the next several years, and another $1 billion in loan guarantees for foreign investment. Officials said the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will also make sizable contributions.“Part of what we do is going to be is using our influence in support positive outcomes in different countries,” a senior official said. “Ultimately, change is not going to be determined by the United States. Change is going to be determined by the people of the region.”White House planners have already broached the costs with congressional leaders, although officials would only say that they offered suggestions on the spending, not explicit support for the plan.Officials said the economic efforts are part of a comprehensive approach toward supporting new democratic governments in the Middle East, and the speech will also focus on diplomatic changes and the individual rights of all people.shanel@stripes.osd.milTwitter: @LeoShane

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