Islamabad: Let me say at the onset how much I appreciate the warm welcome I have received on my first visit to Pakistan. We’ve just finished an open and very constructive meeting. Madam Minister, I want to thank you personally for your wonderful hospitality.
I am here as part of a long series of visits from representatives of the United States: Senator John Kerry was just recently here, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman, Secretary Clinton herself was just recently here as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.
This series of meetings shows how important this relationship is to both of our countries. I believe we are now heading in the right direction. Still, all of us have a great deal of work ahead to sustain this momentum.
The U.S. and Pakistan have a broad, challenging and complex relationship. But one thing should be clear: The people of both of our countries benefit when we work together towards a common goal.
As Secretary Clinton said during her visit a few weeks ago, we believe that the Pakistanis and the Americans share the same objectives: Defeat violent extremism. End the conflict in Afghanistan. Ensure a secure, stable, democratic, and prosperous future for Pakistan. And we will work closely with the government and the people of Pakistan to act on this common interest. We recognize that Pakistan faces severe challenges at this moment in its history.
Pakistanis have suffered terribly at the hands of violent extremists. Your army and security forces have paid a heavy price. We respect your sacrifice. We grieve with you over the loss of so many innocent people wantonly murdered by terrorists, as we saw once again in Peshawar over the weekend. And we share the distress of the Pakistani people that so many brave journalists have paid with their lives for pursuing the truth.
Everyone gains from a stable, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan—at peace with itself and with its neighbours. And on that note, I am pleased to learn of the completion of the Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, and important step toward regional prosperity. As Secretary Clinton said during her visit to Pakistan last month, we are prepared to stand by the Pakistani people for the long haul. Let me reiterate: We respect your democracy. And we look to you, the Pakistani people, to choose the kind of country you wish to live in. And it is for the democratically-elected leaders of Pakistan to deliver results for the people.
What the United States can do is what we strive to do every day as long as we are there: we work with you to identify our common goals and then work together to realize them. You can see this approach at work in our civilian assistance programs.
We are working with your government to help renovate the Tarbela dam, which will expand electricity generation and help address the energy crisis that affects your quality of life so much. Yes, we can see it at work in our people-to-people exchange programs. These are the largest programs in the world, and I look forward to visiting with Pakistani students later today. And you can see it in our cooperation to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who have repeatedly killed women and children, blown up mosques and markets, and shown no regard for human life or dignity.
We all know that nothing truly important happens without your effort. Our relationship is critically important. It benefits the people of both countries in very concrete ways. I thank the Government of Pakistan. And I thank you, Madam Minister, for your leadership for engaging in a spirit of partnership as we work together to move together.
For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Section
U.S. Embassy, Islamabad- Pakistan
Cell: +92300 501 2640