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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Pakistan Strategic Dialogue’

Clearly the Secretary of State had a very busy day in the middle of a very busy week. She was “on” all day as host of this conference, and, as a result, there is a ton of pictures to be viewed. Since Wednesday is always my busiest and longest day, I just now at 10:15 p.m. finished collecting all the photos. The best (and fastest) way for me to post them is via a bulk upload, so here is a photo gallery of her remaining breathtakingly beautiful throughout a breathtakingly busy day.

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Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi At Reception for the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Richard Holbrooke
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
March 24, 2010

AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE: Welcome to the State Department, and come on up as close as you can. My name is Richard Holbrooke. I am the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it is my great honor today to welcome you, the largest group of Pakistani Americans ever assembled in the State Department, and to introduce our honored host and our honored guest.
Of course, she needs no introduction to this audience. As First Lady, as senator, as Secretary of State, Pakistan and the Pakistani American community are always not far from her heart. Five times she has traveled to Pakistan in these jobs. She knows so many of you personally. She and Foreign Minister Qureshi are the two people who collaborated to lead to the creation of the American Pakistan Foundation, many of whose members and supporters are here today. And that is a creation to which I think history will pay full record.
She is an inspirational leader, a great Secretary of State, especially for Pakistan, and I’m proud to say my dear friend. She’s also my boss, but I didn’t have to say that. (Laughter.) Please join me in welcoming the 67th Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very, very much. And thanks to Ambassador Holbrooke, who has done an extraordinary job as our special representative and who you wouldn’t believe it, is too modest by far giving me the credit for so much of what we’ve done this past year.
It’s a real pleasure to welcome all of you here to the State Department on an absolutely beautiful spring day. I hope you take advantage of the view out there, which is one of the best in Washington. I know that Secretary – or that Senator Dick Lugar was here. I think he had to leave for votes. I believe that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee is still here, and we’re so happy she is here. (Applause.) And I want to be sure – I can’t see them all the way back, but I know that others who are intending to join are Senator Ted Kaufman, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congressman John Tierney, and Congressman Ike Skelton.
We’ve had an excellent day for Pakistan-United States relationships with the kickoff of this high-level Strategic Dialogue. And I want to thank Foreign Minister Qureshi and all the members of his delegation for making today’s events possible. Those of us who have experienced Pakistan’s famous hospitality firsthand are delighted to welcome you as our guests. And we hope we will have many more occasions to do so in the future.
Today does mark the beginning of a new stage in the relationship between Pakistan and the United States. With this Strategic Dialogue, we are addressing the full range of interests and concerns that matter to the Pakistani and American people, including national security, economic growth, agriculture, energy, education, health, social progress, with a new level of commitment and focus.
Now, some might ask what really has changed, what makes this dialogue so special. Well, to begin with, this is the first time ever that such a dialogue has been led by a foreign minister and the Secretary of State. We’ve also established new procedures. With this dialogue, we have identified projects in key areas and created a roadmap for making consistent progress. Working groups consisting of experts and policy makers from both countries have been meeting today and will continue meeting tomorrow and will continue meeting for the months ahead. Foreign Minister Qureshi and I will be overseeing that work and we will stay involved in it, and our teams intend to meet again later this year, this time in Pakistan.
But I would add that one of the real features that differentiates this effort from others is all of you. We are joined today by board members from the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council, the American Pakistan Foundation, Pakistani Americans who work for the United States Government, including many who work here at the State Department, and people from across the broader Pakistani American community – business leaders, academics, professionals, citizens from every walk of life. And your presence reminds us of the bonds of friendship and family that connect our countries, the vibrant community that sustains and strengthens this relationship. Ours is a partnership not only between governments, but between people. And people can help us achieve our goals in ways that governments simply cannot.
So we today are charting a new course for the future together, one that is strategic and substantive and that will yield tangible benefits. One of the ingredients for that success will be investments, investments of all kinds. And I am looking at some of the most successful people in our country as I look out and see so many friends here. Business investment is absolutely essential. In this past year, we have seen Pakistan’s economy begin to recover, thanks in part to remittances from Pakistanis and families living overseas. Remittances reached record levels in 2009 and they helped to spark critical economic activity.
But the opportunity to work, to go to school, to start a business, to build a career are still out of reach for too many. And business investment will be absolutely critical for Pakistan’s long-term progress. We all have a stake in Pakistan’s success. And I know that there are so many of you who have Pakistan in your heart and there are so many of you who have business interests in Pakistan, and I would encourage even more of that. We announced today a flight from Pakistan to Chicago via Barcelona, so many of my friends in Chicago will be very happy to hear that. (Applause.)
It is for me a great pleasure to be working on this Strategic Dialogue and to be helping to shape our partnership going forward. And to that end, I have an excellent partner in the foreign minister. He and I have worked so well over the last 15 months during my tenure, and I’m very grateful for his creativity and his leadership. Foreign Minister Qureshi. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you for the support that I have received from you and your team. Ladies and gentlemen, I will not be exaggerating if I say that today, the 24th of March, will be recognized in days to come as a important day in U.S.-Pakistan relations. Because today, we have tried to redirect this relationship into a partnership. And this could only come about realizing that a strategic partnership can only be strategic if it is people-centered. And your presence and your support is what I seek.
I remember the first meeting that many of you attended in New York when we were discussing the idea of the Pakistan American Foundation. There were many who said don’t even venture this way, it’ll not work. But I believe in perseverance, and I believe if you persevere, it commands success. And I have faith and I believe in you, the Pakistani Americans, because I have interacted with some of you. I am getting to know more of you. And the more I interact with you, the more I realize how much you care – how much you care about Pakistan. You are American citizens now, but you still have your heart and soul very much in Pakistan.
And that is why we’ve created a vehicle for you that you will own and direct and give leadership to. We will facilitate. We will not guide nor are we bosses. I’m a democrat and democracy believes in people. I think the best ambassadors Pakistan can have are you people who have done it in a competitive environment, in a challenging environment. You’ve proved your mettle and I am proud of you. And I request you to help Pakistan to strengthen democratic values in Pakistan. After many years, we are back on track.
Today in Pakistan, we have a functioning democracy. Today in Pakistan, I can proudly say we have a very independent judiciary. Today in Pakistan, we have a very independent media. Today in Pakistan, we have a growing, a vibrant civil society. And collectively, we can take Pakistan to the level it ought to go to. We are not a poor country. We are a rich country. We are rich in human capital. We are rich in resources. We only need to utilize them better. And if we can do it, I am confident that we will grow. And very soon, we will grow by 6 to 7 to 8 percent.
And we are determined to push poverty down. We are determined to achieve the goals that the founding fathers of this country – the vision they had for Pakistan and the founder of my party – the economic change, the social change that he promised. We are going to achieve that. And you will help us achieve that goal.
Corporate America can help Pakistan. Today, we’ve created a vehicle to which you can help Pakistan. There are great business opportunities in Pakistan. Yes, there are challenges. Yes, there are difficulties. Yes, we are going through a difficult time. Yes, there is a security situation. I do not deny that. But we will change it. And the last two years of this democratic government, we have shown and we have provided the leadership to bring about that change.
Today, the Taliban are on the run. Today, the militants know that there is a government, and the people of Pakistan and the public opinion of Pakistan are united, and collectively, they are going to defeat them. The armed forces of Pakistan have performed heroically and we are proud of their performance. The ordinary citizen has suffered. Innocent citizens have suffered on account of terrorism. But that has not weakened our resolve. Every casualty makes us more determined to defeat terrorism and to reverse extremism. And we will succeed, because defeat is not an option.
With your help, with your support, and with this new partnership that we are building, I think we will achieve our objectives sooner than expected. So thank you, thank you for being here, thank you for supporting us. (Applause.) Thank you for caring about Pakistan. Whether it was the earthquake or any natural disaster, you have stood out. And taking the lead from the response I got, Madam Secretary, from the Pakistani Americans, your response encouraged me.
And let me share with you, I’m trying to reproduce this model in the United Kingdom. I’ve spoken to David Miliband and I have a group together and we are working, and Inshallah, the next foundation is going to be the Pakistan-UK foundation, because I want to mobilize. I want to mobilize the diaspora – the diaspora that we have all over Europe – educated Pakistanis, capable Pakistanis, caring Pakistanis, to care for our Pakistan. Thank you. (Applause.)



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<blockquote>Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi After Their Meeting

Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 24, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, it is such a pleasure once again to welcome the foreign minister and his delegation to the State Department for this latest round of our meetings and for this beginning of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, the first ever held at the ministerial level on both sides. That fact, along with the unprecedented participation of senior leaders across both of our governments, reflects the importance that we place on this relationship. These meetings are an opportunity to engage directly on the full range of issues that are matters of both common concern and shared responsibility, and to produce concrete results.
Today, we discussed our shared goals: to protect our citizens and our countries from the violent extremism that threatens us both, to see Pakistan prosper as a strong democracy in a stable region, to cooperate on issues that improve the daily lives of the Pakistani people, and so much else. We have made it very clear that this Strategic Dialogue is in Pakistan’s interests and in the United States’ interests. And that is why what we’re doing here today is so critical.
I want to thank the foreign minister for his candor and his commitment to finding solutions to our common challenges. We have listened and we will continue to listen. And we want to demonstrate by both word and deed our respect for Pakistan’s concerns and ideas, and share our own.
This is a dialogue that flows in both directions. We recognize that our success will be measured in the results that our citizens see in their daily lives. This begins with security. We discussed Pakistan’s national security priorities, ongoing counterinsurgency operations, and long-term military modernization and recapitalization efforts. Pakistan is on the front line of confronting the violent extremism that threatens us all. And Pakistan’s civilians and security forces continue to bear the brunt of that fight. We respect the sacrifices that Pakistan has made in combating terrorists who seek to undermine its stability and undo its progress. And we pay tribute to those who have fallen, both those in uniform and the many innocent civilians killed or injured.
In our discussions today, I underscored the commitment of the United States to stand with Pakistan as it confronts its challenges. And the foreign minister and I also reaffirmed our support for the people and Government of Afghanistan as they continue to rebuild their country after decades of war and to overcome violence and insurgency.
But our relationship extends far beyond security, as does the scope of this dialogue. As demonstrated by the landmark Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation, which supports Pakistan’s economic and social development goals with $7.5 billion in assistance over five years, the United States is committed to advancing the long-term aspirations of the Pakistani people for a more peaceful and prosperous future. President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, and Foreign Minister Qureshi deserve our thanks for their work to make Kerry-Lugar-Berman a reality and to ensure that its benefits reach the Pakistani people. I also want to give Foreign Minister Qureshi personal credit, not just for launching this dialogue but for ensuring that we make tangible progress and produce real results on matters of importance.
Our working groups were hard at work today. First, we are cooperating to boost economic development on a number of tracks. Deputy Secretary Lew will sign a letter of intent to upgrade significant road infrastructure in the Northwest. We are taking concrete steps to help Pakistan boost exports of agricultural products and to improve agricultural infrastructure. As the foreign minister said today in our opening dialogue, 60 to 70 percent of the people of Pakistan rely on agriculture. And therefore, we ignore agriculture at our peril. You cannot have prosperity if you do not go to where the people live and work, how they make an income, how they feed themselves and their families.
And we are continuing to work for greater market access to our markets for Pakistani products. We continue to collaborate on plans for new water projects, and we’re looking forward to the completion of a transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan that we believe will benefit both countries. As I told the foreign minister, we appreciate Pakistan’s renewed commitment to sustained economic reforms that will provide a foundation for long-term prosperity.
We are working together to ensure that Pakistanis have access to affordable and reliable power, which is essential to funding economic development. When I was in Islamabad in October, we announced a signature energy program, and tomorrow, USAID Administrator Shah and Secretary of Water and Power Rafi will sign implementation agreements for three thermal power station rehabilitation projects that will provide more electricity to more people.
We also discussed the importance of working on a multiyear basis with regard to resource planning. I was pleased to inform the foreign minister that our goal is a multiyear security assistance package, including foreign military financing, based upon identified mutual strategic objectives, which would further strengthen our long-term partnership with Pakistan. We, of course, will work closely with Congress to further develop this commitment.
The United States also remains committed to social protection efforts, such as the Benazir Bhutto Income Support Program for families in vulnerable areas. And we will launch a women in development agenda in our next round of dialogues in Islamabad.
Finally, I am pleased to announce the approval of flight access for Pakistan International Airlines to Chicago, via Barcelona, making it easier for business travelers and families to strengthen the ties between our two countries.
We covered a lot of ground today, but there is so much more to be done. We are going to be working very hard. Our sectoral tracks are going to be meeting again tomorrow and then over the next months in Islamabad. We’re going to be working on people-to-people contacts and programs.
So again, Minister Qureshi, I thank you for your leadership. I thank you for the open, engaged, and results-oriented discussions that we began today. And as I did this morning, I want to speak directly to the people of Pakistan. I’ve been privileged to visit your country over the years, including last fall as Secretary of State. I have learned from your rich history and culture, and I have experienced firsthand the warmth of your hospitality and the strength of your communities.
The dialogue we seek is not only with the Government of Pakistan, but with you, the Pakistani people. And it is a dialogue that I hope will continue growing richer and broader. And we thank you for your attention and your friendship.
Minister Qureshi.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Madam Secretary, thank you. Today, I am a happy man and a satisfied man. I’m satisfied because you’ve finally agreed to many of the things that we’ve been sharing over our discussions in the last two years.
I suggested to Madam Secretary that if you want this relationship to become a partnership, you’ve got to think differently, you’ve got to act differently, and you’ve got to upgrade the level of our engagement. And she agreed, and thank you for that. I suggested to her a new format of our engagement when she was in Islamabad and Ambassador Holbrooke was there – a three-tiered structure of engagement, ministerial level, policy steering group to meet biannually to follow through, and then to expand the sectoral track.
The original – I won’t call it strategic – but the original dialogue that we had in 2006, `7, and `8 had only four tracks. And Madam Secretary, on my request, has agreed to expand the track from four to ten. And why have we expanded those tracks? We have expanded those tracks to make this relationship people-to-people. I wanted to bring in areas that affect the lives of the ordinary people of Pakistan. And when I say I’m happy today, I’m happy because I feel I’ve contributed in redirecting this relationship in line with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
The people of Pakistan expected a different kind of an approach. The people of Pakistan expected a democracy to treat a democracy differently, and you’ve done so. And you’ve done so. And that is why I am satisfied and that is why I think we are going to move from a relationship to a partnership.
We have been talking about the engagements of the past. How is this engagement different from the past? I think we’ve done three to four things which are important, and I wanted to register them. One, we’ve upgraded the dialogue. Two, we’ve given it a new structure, a new format of engagement. We’ve put in place a mechanism which would ensure follow-up. Because we can meet; if there is no follow-up, there will be no results. And I want this dialogue to be a result-oriented dialogue.
Thirdly, we expanded the sectoral tracks, as I said. And fourthly, we have and you have, your Administration has provided the resources to implement what we agree upon. Now, if we could agree to, we could have great ideas. But if you don’t have the money to implement those ideas, they would be dreams. I want these dreams to be converted to reality, and I think that is happening. And I can see that happening.
I also am happy to share with you that we’ve discussed a number of things. We’ve discussed issues like market access. And I’ve shared with the Secretary how important it is for stabilizing Pakistan’s economy. And one of the ways is through expanded trade, and that can come through market access. The ROZ legislation has been pending. And I must thank you and your Administration for having agreed to give it priority. I understand the health bill took a lot of your attention and a lot of your time, but I think it’s behind us —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: — and we have to move on. And I think the ROZ legislation is going to be a priority legislation in the days to come.
The CSF funding – at times, as friends and allies, sort of we’ve been prickling over dollars and cents. We’ve agreed to put in place a mechanism which is mutually acceptable, which is transparent, which takes into account accountability, but that delivers and delivers in time. We’ve agreed in this interaction that the substantial sum will be paid to Pakistan by the end of April, and the remaining, hopefully, will be settled by the end of June.
We’ve also agreed to work together with the Congress. Congress is important.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: And I was at the Congress – and let me share it with you. Let me share it with you. I saw a qualitative difference in my engagement with the Congress yesterday, because I remember when I came here for the first time as foreign minister two years ago, everybody said, “You signed the Swat deal? Capitulation. Surrender.” I said, “Hold on, hold on. That’s a tactic. Wait. Wait till you see the results.”
And we have demonstrated the results. The people of Pakistan, the armed forces of Pakistan, have shown the resolve, the determination, and the commitment. And we will win. And we’re going to win in this struggle, because defeat is not an option that we are planning for. And Inshallah, by the grace of God, we have a clear objective, we have a plan, we have a strategy, and that strategy is working. And today, we have a partnership, and hopefully, this partnership will turn the tide in our favor, hopefully in our mutual favor.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you, ma’am.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, can I quote you —
MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Sue Pleming of Reuters.
QUESTION: Okay. Okay.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, this is for you. Pakistan says that it would like to have a real partnership with the United States with all the perks that come with it. Are you prepared to discuss a civilian nuclear deal such as the one that India has with Pakistan?
And then, Foreign Minister Qureshi, what is currently sort of on your wish list to do all that you need to do in terms of making the border region more secure with Afghanistan? Are you looking for drones, helicopters? What could the United States give you that would really help?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ll go first. We have a broad agenda with many complicated issues like the one you referred to. Discussions are continuing through tomorrow. And while I will not go into details of our bilateral conversations, we’ve said that we will listen to and engage with our Pakistani partners on whatever issues the delegation raises. We’re committed to helping Pakistan meet its real energy needs.
I’m particularly pleased that we are moving forward with $125 million to Pakistan for energy sector projects. That’s an assistance program I announced when I was there in October. And as the foreign minister said, we have followed through. We don’t just make announcements and then forget about them and get the headlines and move on.
So this dialogue that we’re engaged in is helping us build the kind of partnership that can make progress over time on the most complicated of issues.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Ma’am, we have taken a number of steps that have improved the border situation. Today, if you look at the posts that we have along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and just compare our posts with the posts across the border; if you look at the troops deployed on the western border, this is unprecedented. If you look at the steps taken – if you look at the impact the successful military operations have had on the border movement, you would realize what relief they have provided across the border in Afghanistan. Successful operations in Pakistan against the Taliban have had a significant impact in Afghanistan, and they acknowledge that.
President Karzai was over in Islamabad and we’ve had discussions, and they acknowledge the contribution that Pakistan has made, they acknowledge the contribution that the democratic government has made in improving bilateral relations with Afghanistan. We just talked about the transit trade agreement prior to coming to this conference. We’ve talked about military hardware. You have to realize that we are operating in a completely different theater. The western border, the terrain is completely different. And I’m glad to share with you we’ve agreed to fast-track – to fast-track our requests that have pending for months and years on the transfer of military equipment to Pakistan. So all these steps, I think, will make a qualitative difference to border management.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, P.J. (inaudible) from (inaudible) news. Madam Secretary and foreign minister, whenever relations between America and Pakistan suffer and get strained, both really suffer and then both (inaudible) perhaps what you’ve done (inaudible).
But the question is: How imminent is – are the people of the United States and how important is it for them – and the foreign minister said it’s the people of Pakistan who want to come to this – so people-to-people contact and how imminent has the military chiefs of all the countries – their presence in this, and the reassurances of Ambassador Holbrooke to Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for asking that question because that’s really at the heart of what we hope to achieve. Because I agree with you; we have had a relationship that goes back to the very founding of Pakistan. We’ve had many positive experiences. But to be absolutely, historically accurate, we’ve had setbacks and stresses in our relationship. And I believe strongly that it is important for the United States and Pakistan to remain connected and working together for the betterment of both of our peoples.
So will we have disagreements? Of course. We have disagreements with all of our friends from time to time. Yet we don’t want anything to disrupt or divert our attention from building this relationship into a partnership – as the foreign minister has said, a partnership that really stands the test of time.
So as part of that, we want to ensure that our communication about our work together, our outreach, extends far beyond our governments. We want our private sectors working together much more closely. We think there are many great opportunities for joint ventures and investments. But frankly, we have work to do to explain the opportunities that exist. We want our universities and academic institutions working together. We want to spend time on improving agriculture and healthcare and so much else. We have an exciting presentation between our two information technology representatives about what can be done with greater investment in technology. And who benefits from that more than the individual Pakistani who gets information from a cell phone that helps with mobile banking or provides healthcare information?
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Telemedicine.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Telemedicine, exactly. So you can see we are very excited because I think both Shah Mehmood and I see this as ultimately about bettering the lives of people. That is what got me into politics. I know that’s what motivates his desires. So we really are looking for more and more ways that we can create those interactions and exchanges between our people, because that’s what this is all about.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: P.J. – P.J., could I respond to what you said? P.J., I was at the Hill yesterday and I share it with you as a fellow Pakistani – the mood was completely different. I’ll say it publicly. It was different. I was at the Senate. I was at the House. It’s 180 degree difference. We’ve turned the corner. And today, there was confidence. There were no question marks. There was no suspicion. There was no “do more.” There was recognition of what we already had done. There was appreciation of what we had already done. That’s one.
The other thing, the civil-military relations today in Pakistan are excellent. The fact that the army chief is part of the delegation that is here, the fact that we were sitting on the same table arguing, articulating Pakistan case, is unheard of in the past.
And today, thirdly, the Secretary mentioned the private sector, the vibrance of the private sector. Let me share with you that today at the State Department, we had a PPP conference. Let me qualify that – public-private partnership conference. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you. Welcome back to Washington, Mr. Foreign Minister. This question is for both of you. Given that you were speaking about improved relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, I’d like to ask about reconciliation of the Taliban and what kind of role you envision for Pakistan. Do you envision a role for them in helping to mediate, and what could that do to the security of Pakistan?
And Secretary Clinton, if I might, George Mitchell is going to be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. What are you hoping to secure from the prime minister before he leaves in terms of commitments for the peace process? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: As far as the reconciliation process goes, we’ve discussed it with President Karzai. Pakistan is very clear: We want this to be an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process. Now, it’s their choice. If they feel we can contribute, if we can help, we will be more than willing to help. But we leave it to them. We’ve had discussions when they were in Islamabad. I’ve invited the Afghan foreign minister to come to Islamabad for a detailed discussion on the reintegration/reconciliation process. He’s accepted my invitation and we’ll talk about it. Our aim is very simple: We want a peaceful, stable, friendly Afghanistan, period.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your question to me, Elise, we are engaged in ongoing discussions. And Senator Mitchell, as you pointed out, is very actively part of that. And I think that it’s very clear our goal is the resumption of negotiations, the launching of the proximity talks as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Any thoughts on reconciliation and whether Pakistan could —
SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree with what the foreign minister said.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you assured the people of Pakistan of your support in security-related issues and all other fields. But many in Pakistan believe that U.S. is supporting Pakistan because their real interest is only to confine Taliban and al-Qaida. And when it comes to the issues which are confronting Pakistan, and they have involvement of India, Americans seem too reluctant to play their real role. So how would you assure people of Pakistan that in all security-related issues, whether they are related to Taliban, terrorism, and India, American would play its due role?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s important to recognize that the United States has positive relationships with both Pakistan and India. And we certainly encourage the dialogue between India and Pakistan. The issues that are part of that dialogue need to be addressed, and resolution of them between the two countries would certainly be in everyone’s best interest.
But I want to just underscore that our goal in the Obama Administration is to make clear that we are going to be a partner with Pakistan going forward on a full range of matters. Now, we can’t dictate Pakistani foreign policy or Indian foreign policy. But we can encourage, as we do, the in-depth discussion between both countries that we think would benefit each of them with respect to security and development.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Can I also respond to you? You see, in the discussions that we’ve had, we underscored the importance of reviving the bilateral track. The last few years, the bilateral track was subsumed because of the Afghan situation, understandably so. We have now refocused on the bilateral track, and that means that our relationship goes beyond Afghanistan, and it has been discussed that the long-term U.S. interests lie east of Afghanistan; that is to be understood.
As far as India is concerned, they are a sovereign country and they have bilateral relations and we respect that – we respect that. But all we are saying that those relations should not be at the cost of Pakistan. And we are very clear and I think you are very clear on that. I’m of the view that Pakistan has been willing to engage. And I’m confident, as two years down the line, I’m confident of this relationship. I’m confident that India will have to revisit its policy and very soon.
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

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Please see the previous post for the text. Thank you.

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Opening Session of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
March 24, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning and let me welcome all of you, particularly our distinguished colleagues and friends from Pakistan. Welcome to the Ben Franklin Room. His portrait is above us over the fireplace. He’s one of our great heroes in the founding of our country. And I know that Pakistan just had its national day, so we are delighted that during this week we could hold this extremely important Strategic Dialogue.

As you can see I am joined by a number of officials from the United States Government, including Secretary of Defense Bob Gates; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah; Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan; Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis; many other distinguished officials from across our government; and of course, our Ambassador Anne Patterson, who we’re always happy to see here in Washington. And together we welcome Foreign Minister Qureshi and the other distinguished members of the Pakistani delegation.

We have been looking forward to this meeting for a long time. It is the culmination of months of work by people in both our countries. It is the next step in a relationship that stretches back to Pakistan’s earliest days, but it is also the start of something new – a new phase in our partnership, with a new focus and a renewed commitment to work together to achieve the goals we share: stability, prosperity, opportunity for the people of both Pakistan and the United States.

Now, this is not the first Strategic Dialogue between our countries, but it is the first led by a Foreign Minister and a United States Secretary of State, and it reflects our government’s commitment to its success. During my visit to Pakistan in October, Foreign Minister Qureshi and I agreed that it was time for a Strategic Dialogue of this caliber to ensure that the work we do together will yield real and lasting benefits for our citizens. So during the next two days, we will determine concrete steps that our countries will take to advance our work in key areas, including addressing Pakistan’s urgent energy needs and helping communities damaged by violence to rebuild. More broadly, we will discuss our goals and vision for our partnership’s long-term future and set forth a schedule for that future.

Pakistan and the United States have come together at critical moments throughout our history. We have provided aid and support to each other at trying times. We have faced wars and responded to natural disasters together. Over the years, our relationship has been tested, but it has always endured. And I am pleased we have come together again – at this critical moment – to reinforce our ties and recommit to building a partnership that will last.

The United States comes to this Dialogue with great respect for the nation and people of Pakistan. We recognize the central role that Pakistan plays in promoting security and prosperity. And that is not only for itself but throughout South Asia. Pakistan’s stability and prosperity is in the best interests of people everywhere. Its struggles are our struggles. Its future and ours are entwined. And its people and our people share many of the same dreams, dreams we are more likely to achieve working together.

On a personal note, Pakistan is close to my heart. I have relished my visits and especially last October, when I spent several days meeting with people from across the country, hearing their views and sharing my own. Pakistan is also home to dear friends of mine. And it is the homeland of several members of my staff, as well as tens of thousands of Pakistani Americans, many of whom I was proud to represent as a senator for New York. So I have both a personal and a professional interest in Pakistan’s future. It’s one of the reasons why I was so pleased to set up a special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the first time with Ambassador Holbrooke and the first-class team that he has compiled. And I am committed to the success of this Dialogue, which offers a chance to accelerate our efforts to promote security and opportunity in Pakistan and beyond.

Let me just say a few words about security, and I see General Kayani and members of the military, and we are very pleased that you here with us. Pakistan stands at the front line of a struggle against violent extremism, which has inflicted terrible costs on the people of Pakistan. For months, the Taliban has waged war against the Government of Pakistan. Thousands of soldiers have given their lives to protect their country. Innocent men, women, and children have been killed in markets and schools, at police stations, and even in mosques. This violence is both senseless and part of a larger perverse strategy to destabilize Pakistan and allow extremist groups the freedom to consolidate power and plot further violence in Pakistan and beyond.

But the people and Government of Pakistan have responded to these attacks with courage and resolve. The Pakistani authorities have recently arrested key leaders of the Taliban. The Pakistani Army continues to fight the extremists. And the democratically elected Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people have shown extraordinary strength in their determination to rebuild their communities and rid their country of those who seek to destroy it.

So to the people and Government of Pakistan, the United States pledges our full support. You are fighting a war whose outcome is critical; first and foremost, of course, for the people of Pakistan, but it will also have regional and global repercussions. And so strengthening and advancing your security remains a key priority of our relationship.

But security means more than defeating an insurgency. It also means creating the conditions that allow people to participate fully in their communities and to lead healthy, productive, fulfilling lives. I often say that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And until opportunity is available to all citizens, the kind of progress Pakistan deserves will remain elusive.

During my visit to Pakistan last October, people shared with me their stories of the challenges they face every day. They told me about the scarcity of clean water, the energy shortages that cause regular blackouts that last for hours. They told me about the farmers who were struggling, the young people who want to work and contribute but can’t find a job.

With this Dialogue, we want to think about security in the broadest possible terms – not just what we commonly think of as national security, but the full range of political, economic, and social issues that shape the daily life of people everywhere. Here in the United States, we call these “kitchen table” issues, because families across our country often gather around the kitchen table to discuss them. Now, while we may not sit down at a kitchen table today, we will be focusing on these critical issues and planning the next steps we will take together to achieve them.

The United States is demonstrating our commitment to supporting the people of Pakistan. In addition to our humanitarian assistance to citizens displaced by violence, we have significantly increased our overall non-military assistance through the Kerry-Lugar-Berman initiative, the legislation passed last year. That was a landmark, long-term investment in Pakistan’s economy and its civilian institutions. Now, we are redirecting our assistance to priorities identified by Pakistan’s democratically elected civilian government, including energy and water initiatives. And under the leadership of the United States Agency for International Development, we are increasing our efforts to promote sustainable development and broad prosperity.

These are urgent goals, but they can only be achieved through patient, persistent efforts. So let me be clear: today’s Dialogue is not a one-time event. It is the first in a series of continuing, substantive discussions that will continue in the months ahead, as representatives from both our countries meet to look at the goals that we set and to figure out how we can make progress together. And it will continue later this year, when our teams will go to Islamabad for the next round of the Strategic Dialogue.

Now, while meeting is in itself an important first step, we cannot be satisfied with talking alone. Our success will be determined not by how often we gather in government summits, but in how well our partnership translates into lasting progress for the millions who live in cities and villages far from the halls of power and whose lives will be shaped by our actions. Bettering the lives of people must remain the motivation for everything we do. And our partnership must also foster a greater understanding between our nations and our people.

We know that, in recent years, misperceptions and mistrust have grown between our countries, on both sides of the relationship. Foreign Minister Qureshi and I have worked hard to overcome that. Other of our colleagues, both on the civilian and the military side, have worked equally hard to build greater trust and begin a new chapter in our relationship. Yet I am aware that some skepticism still remains.

So I want to say a word directly to the people of Pakistan. Our countries have had our misunderstandings and disagreements in the past. And there are sure to be more disagreements in the future, as there are between any friends or, frankly, any family members. But this is a new day. For the past year, the Obama Administration has shown in our words and our deeds a different approach and a different attitude toward Pakistan. This was a personal priority of President Obama’s and mine from the start of this Administration, and it will continue to be one.

The dialogue we seek is not only with the government of Pakistan, but with you, the people of Pakistan. This was one of the purposes for my trip in October. And together, we began a conversation that has continued, including earlier this week, when I met with journalists from Pakistan. It is a dialogue that we hope will expand and endure, and include more and more Pakistanis and Americans because we believe there is no limit to what the Pakistani and American people can accomplish together, particularly in this interconnected age, when it is so easy to communicate and collaborate, government-to-government, business-to-business, student-to-student, and citizen-to-citizen. So I urge every Pakistani and every American following our work here today to take on this mission as your own. Our countries are poised to deepen our partnership for our mutual progress, but we can only succeed with your support.

There is much work to be done, and that work is both exciting and somewhat overwhelming, because we know that nothing changes overnight. It doesn’t change with the best of intentions; it doesn’t change because we wish it to change. It only changes with hard work. In fact, I remember when I read about and had my staff pull for me the words of the sister of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Allah – Ali Jinnah – Fatima Jinnah – who was a great carrier of his legacy after his early death. She continued his mission for many years, always urging the people of Pakistan to press ahead. It won’t surprise you that I often turn to women and their quotes and their work when I look through history, because their voices are too often forgotten. But what she said on Pakistan Day in 1952, the fourth anniversary of independence, was so telling to me. She noted the achievements that Pakistan had already made, though they were, as she put it, “an unaided people in their march toward their destiny.” And she concluded by quoting Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s words, his recipe for progress: Work, work, and more work.

Well, Pakistan is no longer unaided, marching toward your destiny. The United States is proud to stand and march with you. But now we are called, all of us, to work, work, and more work, today, tomorrow, and the months ahead for the citizens of our countries and many others whose futures will be influenced by our partnership.

I’m very pleased now, and it’s a great honor for me to introduce my partner and my counterpart, someone who I have very much appreciated working with over the past many months now, Foreign Minister Qureshi.

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by thanking you for your warm words of welcome and your reaffirmation of the vital importance of Pakistan-U.S. relations. My colleagues and I myself have been touched by the gracious hospitality extended to us since our arrival in Washington. I bring with me the warmest greetings of the leadership and people of Pakistan for the friendly government and friendly people of the United States.

We are meeting today in the special backdrop of the 70th anniversary of adoption of the Pakistan Resolution, a landmark event in the history of South Asia and a defining moment in our struggle for freedom. The people of Pakistan remember with gratitude the valuable contribution made by the freedom-loving American people to our quest for independence and to forging close ties with our young nation. Consistent with its own values and principles, Pakistan made a conscious choice at the outset to join the free world alliance at a time when sitting on the fence was rightly considered immoral. Pakistan and the United States have since been close friends and allies.

On several occasions, our partnership has had a profound impact on the course of history. Pakistan’s role in the promotion of Sino-American rapprochement decisively tilted the East-West balance in favor of the free world. Our successful joint endeavors drove back the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, helped end the Cold War, and usher in a new era in world politics. In the post-9/11 period, our two nations have joined hands again to defeat the dark forces of extremism and terrorism that threaten us all.

As we recall these shining examples, we must also remember that many of these brooked sacrifices from the people of Pakistan. Red marks were placed on Pakistani cities, thousands of our innocent citizens became victims of foreign-sponsored sabotage, our society was exposed to massive refugee influx, as well as the devastating effects of illicit weapons and drugs, which continue to afflict us to this day.

Our resolute fight against militancy is evoking a stiff backlash manifested in repeated attacks and suicide bombings targeting our valiant security personnel and innocent civilians. Our economy continues to incur losses to the tune of billions of dollars, yet our resolve remains undiminished because it is a matter of standing up for your principles and facing the consequences that come in its wake.

I should also mention that the Pakistan-U.S. bilateral relationship did not always enjoy a sunny side. In fact, over the past six decades, it has seen all seasons. We’ve had development assistance, as well as crippling sanctions; engagement as well estrangement; spring punctuated with periods of autumn. But one lesson from this longstanding partnership is clear: Whenever the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has frayed, the interests of both our nations have suffered. Whenever we have worked together, both our nations and the world have benefited.

I, therefore, venture to stress that this is a dictate of our shared history that the Pakistan-U.S. relationships remain deep and sustainable, Madam Secretary. It is with this sense of history that we are approaching this renewed Strategic Dialogue. The two countries have started the structured dialogue process in April 2006 and rightly focused on priority areas like the economy, energy, education, science and technology, and agriculture. In several rounds of discussions in Washington and Islamabad, proposals and specific measures for closer collaboration in these sectors were outlined. However, despite best efforts on both sides, time and resource constraints prevented us from achieving concrete results.

Now is a time for look forward. Our renewed upgraded dialogue offers great hope. We believe it presents a great opportunity to reaffirm a longstanding alliance, to rededicate ourselves to the principles and values that have guided our relationship in the last six decades, and to craft together the vision of a broad-based, long-term, and enduring partnership for the 21st century.

Such a partnership we are convinced is good for Pakistan, good for America, and good for international peace, security, and prosperity. Such a partnership is important because Pakistan is a pivotal state with over 170 million people, rich in human and national endowment, full of huge untapped natural and energy resources awaiting extraction, strategically located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and representing a democratic and moderate voice in the Islamic world. Such a partnership is necessary because Pakistan and the United States have a whole range of convergent interests, including fighting the twin menace of extremism and terrorism, stabilizing Afghanistan, promoting peace and stability in South Asia, linking the economic potential of South and Central Asia, curbing nuclear proliferation, and advancing progress and prosperity in the region and beyond.

Madam Secretary, under a new democratic leadership inspired by the ideals of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan remains engaged in a consequential effort to turn the tide against extremism and build a future of promise and hope for its people. For us, this is and will remain a strategic and moral imperative. We recognize that the United States also wants a stable, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan making steady progress towards the realization of the vision of its founding fathers. We have welcomed President Obama’s commitment to build a richer relationship with Pakistan, based on mutual respect, mutual interest, and mutual trust. We value the Kerry-Lugar-Berman initiative, which contains the potential to fundamentally transform the nature of our relationship and make it broad-based and people-centered.

It is our earnest hope that the Strategic Dialogue we are upgrading today would help both sides take the relationship truly to a strategic plane. In this regard, our point of departure must remain that positive and robust engagement between Pakistan and the U.S. is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and beyond.

We must also remember that an enduring partnership can only be built and sustained on the strength of a close people-to-people relationship. Indeed, strong public support is indispensible for any initiative to bring our two nations closer and jointly promote our common goals. A Pakistan-U.S. relationship that touches the lives of ordinary people, responds to their vital needs, and makes a positive difference in the pursuit of their aspirations for a better life would form the solid foundation as well as a best guarantee for a sustained strategic partnership between our two nations. As such, we hope that, together, Pakistan and the U.S. can build a robust economic partnership which rests primarily on increased trade and market access, so that we can expand economic opportunities in Pakistan and fight extremism strategically. We hope non-discriminatory access to vital energy resources will also be available to us so that we, too, can pursue our economic and industrial development plans. We recognize that education is the bedrock of a progressive and democratic society. We hope there will be adequate resources to reinforce our efforts in this vital social sector.

Regionally, Pakistan is committed to doing its part to facilitate the world’s community effort for peace and stability in Afghanistan. We hope the world community will be equally responsive to our legitimate concerns and help advance common interests. Pakistan will continue to seek a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes in South Asia, including Kashmir. We hope the United States will maintain its constructive engagement to encourage this process.

Madam Secretary, there are great expectations from the enterprise we are launching today. I’m conscious that it will not be without its challenges or complications either. There could be doubt from within, there will be smear from without, and there may be setbacks on the way. But I am confident that we have the requisite political will on both sides to pursue it successfully and to achieve concrete results because at the end of the day, it is in the mutual interest of our two nations to work together to advance our shared objectives. I assure you, Madam Secretary, that in the worthy cause of building an enduring partnership of mutual benefit between our two countries, we will meet you more than half the way. I thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much, Foreign Minister. (Applause.)

I think at this point in the program, the press is going to be departing, as will some of our participants for other meetings during the day. So we’ll just take a minute so that we can give the press time to move and we can say goodbye to those who are leaving and then we’ll get back and begin the program.

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Daily Appointments Schedule for March 24, 2010

Washington, DC
March 24, 2010

SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON

8:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the Opening Session of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE FOR OPENING REMARKS)


10:00 a.m.
Secretary Clinton chairs a Millennium Challenge Corporation Board Meeting, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, at the Department of State.
(PRESS AVAILABILITY)

4:30 p.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a Reception for the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, at the Department of State.
(CAMERA SPRAY)

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