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Britain Announces Reform Initiative for Mideast, North Africa

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, right, shakes hands with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague during a meeting at Carthage Palace, outside Tunis, February 8, 2011

Britain's foreign secretary has met with top officials in Tunisia, where he announced a reform initiative to support democracy, free speech and justice in the region.

William Hague announced a British aid package for several nations Tuesday, after holding talks with interim Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi and other officials. The aid will go toward fostering democratic reforms. The British diplomat's visit comes on the heels of January unrest that led to the ouster of Tunisia's former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Hague said he was inspired by what he called the "courage, dignity and sacrifice" of Tunisians. He also said it was a time of great opportunity for the Middle East.

Tunisia was the first stop of Hague's five-nation tour of the Middle East and North Africa. His next stop is Jordan.

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