Islamabad: Let me first of all take this opportunity to welcome Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Thomas Nides to the Foreign Office in Islamabad. This is your first visit and we hope this will be the start of many visit to follow.
As you know, Pakistan and the United States are important partners and friends. As we go forward, yours is an important visit in the string of many visits that have happened in the last few weeks and months to Pakistan; starting with the visits of Senator Kerry and the Special Representative Mr. Mark Grossman which were followed by the visit of the Secretary of State; and finally your visit.
I think all of these visits have provided us a very important opportunity to be able to engage with each other and to see the forward trajectory within this relationship which is undoubtedly one of the most important which Pakistan has with any other country. And in each of these visits, we had a chance to engage with our interlocutors in way where we were able to understand our domestic political compulsions and also the need to strengthen this relationship in a way based on mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual trust.
As with any other relationship, both for the United States I am sure, and certainly for Pakistan also, this relationship is one which is based on national interest. And that is this relationship’s strength. We had a chance, particularly in this meeting with the Deputy Secretary of State, to concentrate on economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. As you know, the United States happens to be an important economic partner of Pakistan. We have bilateral trade with US which happens to be one of the highest. We have one of the highest remittances coming in from the US. It is an excellent source of foreign direct investment. We hope for the reinvigoration of the corporate sector.
We also had extensive discussions on the issue of market access and how Pakistan feels that it has a good case, because of its unique position on account of the strategic role it is playing in the fight and in the operations which are taking place, to be able to convince the world that Pakistan deserves a special preferential market access.
We also tried to understand each other on the question of economic assistance. Let me say once again Mr. Deputy Secretary of State that your visit is considered to be extremely important in enabling us not only to explain both to the people of Pakistan and your own people as to the importance of this relationship, but also to ensure that going forward, we are able to get much more of it in terms of good will, in terms of understanding of the contributions that the United States has made to Pakistan and also to be able to tilt it in a way where the people of Pakistan can also feel the effects , the results of the contributions which are being made literally by the people of the United States.
As we go forward, we have also reviewed the work which is being done for the strategic dialogue. Pakistan and the United States take great pride in the fact that we have been able to put the Strategic Dialogue in place in many sectors. We need to be more focused as we approach the future. The work which is required to be done is already in place and we will be able to move towards that.
We also talked in extensive detail about both understanding and appreciating each other’s political space. Efforts need to be made to expand that political space to be able to cooperate with each other in ways which are useful to both the countries. In this, I think it will be amiss on my part to not mention the recent Joint Resolution which was passed by the joint sitting of the Parliament in Pakistan. And I think that that Resolution very clearly stipulates the way forward. We appreciate the recognition of that by the US and this has been emphasized in every important interaction we have had.
We are very happy to report that this relationship is the one in which we are both committed to spend a lot of positive energy to strengthen it further; and to be able to ensure that the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States generally are also aware of the importance of this relationship and the forward trajectory.
Let me just thank you once again for taking the time to come here. This is an important indication of the importance, as you yourself said, you and your administration set out to Pakistan. I think we need to do a better job in being able to ensure that the same message goes back to our people in a more effective manner.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604