MUNICH — US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday urged leaders across the Middle East to embrace democratic reforms in response to growing unrest in the region, despite the risk of short-term instability in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, Clinton said change is a "strategic necessity" that will make Arab nations stronger and their people more prosperous and less susceptible to extremist ideologies.
She urged European nations to join the US in pressing for broad political and economic reform in the Middle East. She said half measures are "untenable" as they will only breed further discontent.
Clinton allowed that democratic transitions can be chaotic. But she said leaders who deny their people freedom and opportunity open the door to instability.