WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday it is an open question whether Arab nations would make genuine political and economic reforms or whether the Arab Spring would ultimately prove a mirage.
Speaking to Arab and U.S. policymakers, Clinton urged Arab states to embrace economic and political reforms following the popular uprisings that toppled long-time authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt this year.
"The long Arab winter has begun to thaw," she said at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, a gathering sponsored by Qatar and the Brookings Institution think tank. "For the first time in decades, there is a real opportunity for lasting change."
"This raises significant questions for us all: Will the people and leaders of the Middle East and North Africa pursue a new, more inclusive approach to solving the region's persistent political, economic and social challenges?" she asked.
"Or, when we meet again at this forum in one year or five years, or 10, will we have seen the prospects for reform fade and remember this moment as just a mirage in the desert?"
(Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Bill Trott)