US President George W Bush has unveiled his plan for promoting democracy, freedom and economic growth in the Middle East at the Group of Eight (G8) summit.
Washington hopes to gather strong support for the Broader Middle East Initiative, which aims to encourage internal reform in Middle East countries through various projects, including financial assistance programmes, literacy projects and public forums.
However, the plan has been viewed with scepticism by some countries in the region, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia turning down the US president's invitation to attend the summit.
What do you think of the US government's plans for reform in the Middle East region? Should the US be involved in such projects or is it up to individual nations?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received.
I think his vision is commendable. I can't understand why people that want good for people would be so negative.
The USA, Britain and France set up the regimes in the Middle East from Saudia Arabia to Iran so as to obtain cheap oil. No-one in the Arab world takes the USA seriously when they talk of democracy.
Graham Jubb, Omoku, Nigeria
It's 2004, and in all of Arab world the governments are either monarchies or dictatorships. This is unacceptable. President Bush realises this and ought to be commended for taking action to change it. Once people in the Arab world have something to live for, they'll be a lot more hesitant to find something to die for. Democracy is the first step in achieving this goal.
Nathaniel, Houston, Texas, USA
Bush cannot know the culture if he thinks the Middle East is fertile ground for democracy. It's not for Bush to tell them.
Sam, Exeter, UK
An election year stunt. Welcome to the Bush circus. Nothing will change in the Middle East without the Middle East wanting change. Why doesn't Bush change his friends in the Middle East first? Please do not play with human lives for your own benefit.
Thomas Kantha, Japan
Nice sentiments, but Western democratic government is not appropriate for Muslim countries... it goes against the Koran. We can only look to God, not Bush, to tell us how to live.
Hassan, Amman, Jordan
The idea is good and the intention commendable, but how will the US know what is best for the people of the Middle East? Each culture has its own path of development - fast or slow - and its own set of rules and philosophies to guide its growth and progress. It is unfair of the US government to feel it knows what is best for all.
If US is really serious in implementing this plan, I do not think any state in the region can oppose them as the countries in the region are nothing more than puppets. But, I do not think US wants a democracy in the region. Does it?
Ali Salih, Ankara, Turkey
I strongly believe in Bush's initiative, based on a broad strategy that started with the military campaign in Iraq. The current situation in the Middle East isn't stable and can't go on for a long time, this is why a change is needed. I think that the heart of the new strategy must be Iran, where a regime change has to be encouraged by giving support to the brave young people who fight against the regime.
Andrea Baucero, Milan, Italy
A nation that prides itself on denying real freedom to those it sees fit should not be put in charge of telling others how to run their country. The United States does not know how to stay out of the affairs of other nations, especially when they produce oil. When is the US public going to wake up and smell the corruption?
Meghan Myres, Canada