Press Availability
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 28, 2009

Unknown tag could not be displayed.

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. (Inaudible.) Let me welcome you, Madame Secretary, once again, to Pakistan to the Foreign Office. We’re delighted to have you here because we know that you’re a friend of Pakistan. We know what your views are for this region, for Pakistan, and certainly this visit of yours will build bridges and deepen our relationship further.

I think this visit is well timed, and I said this to Secretary Clinton. Because Pakistan, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, has entered a critical phase in its fight against extremism and terrorism. And to visit Pakistan at this stage to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan, I think, is an expression, a loud and clear message from the government, the Administration, and the people of the United States of America.

I think this trip is important because it is taking place when there is a democratic dispensation in Pakistan. And your Administration, Madame, has very clearly felt for the first time, in black and white, that we want to deal with a democracy. We uphold and share common democratic values. And I think for a country which is developing democratic institutions, that message is a powerful message for the people of Pakistan.

There is a policy shift that one sees in your approach, and that’s a very welcome shift. And the shift is that you move from individuals to people, and you want a people-centric relationship, and that, I think, is very important. We are democracies. You are a democracy, and you have supported the transition to democracy in Pakistan. And today, we are a democracy as well.

So democracies, I think, have to redraw terms of engagement. And today in our very constructive, very positive engagement that we’ve had this morning, we have sat and analyzed the way forward. What we have, what we – the baggage of history, the needs of our current times, and the future, the vision for the future. I have had the pleasure of sharing a roadmap for U.S.-Pakistan relations with Madame Secretary, and – which is my vision for the future, the way forward for the future.

What we need to do is to build a relationship, a relationship based on trust, a relationship based on mutual respect, and a relationship based on shared objectives. And today, in our engagement, we discussed how to reinforce the trust, how to understand and be sensitive to each other’s concerns, and how to identify and align our objectives, our strategic interests for the future. Democracies, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, cannot be oblivious of public opinion.

So there are fears and concerns on both sides. Let’s acknowledge and admit that. And we need to address them. And I think we have now in place a mechanism, a leadership on both sides, that is willing to address those fears and concerns, have the mindset to address those fears and concerns to our mutual benefit.

We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. We both have a stake in Afghanistan. We both have an interest in a peaceful, stable Afghanistan. And we discussed the – Afghanistan. We discussed the new review that is taking place in the United States, and I requested the Secretary to share the views with us, take Pakistan’s input in that. And in my view, it will be useful.

And finally, we’ve had a very frank and a very honest discussion, and it started with history – you know, the seesaw in our relationship, the baggage that both of us carry of decades – over the last six decades. And we cannot ignore history. We should not ignore history. Keeping that in view, we have to build a relationship for the future. We have to regain each other’s confidence. And I think this Administration, ever since it’s come into office, from the trilateral process we’ve had in Washington and the various engagements – the appointment of the special representatives, the frequent interaction that we’ve had, is willing to engage and understands the importance of confidence in each other.

We both are of the view that our relationship has to go beyond terrorism. Terrorism and defeating – combating terrorism is a shared objective, but we have to go beyond that. When we need to – when we go beyond that, we have to help build each other’s strength. Pakistan is a resource-rich country. We need United States support and help in using our resources, wealth. We need greater market access, and we’ve talked about the FDA. We talked about how important it is to have trade as opposed to aid. Pakistan’s preference is trade.

We also discussed how important it is for Pakistan to resolve the energy crisis and the input that we have shared with each other through the task force that you set up of late. We have also talked about how important it is to build capacity of institutions, institutions that can deliver and improve the quality of life of the ordinary citizen of Pakistan by providing better health, education, you know, sanitation, pulling people out of poverty. And finally, we’ve discussed how we can be sensitive to each other’s core interests.

I think this engagement was very useful. I think, ma’am, your presence and your trip, which – and a comprehensive program that’s set forth would be very useful in adding a new chapter to our relations. So thank you for coming.

Date: 10/28/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressing a joint press conference alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. © State Dept ImageSECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Qureshi. And I believe this is the sixth time that we have met – three times in Washington and one in New York and one in Phuket, Thailand, and now back here in Islamabad – and I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to continue our in-depth discussions. And I thank you for the openness and the sharing of views that will really help us build the kind of partnership that will benefit both of our countries.

I’m also pleased to be here in Pakistan for my fifth trip. I well remember my first trip, nearly 15 years ago, when I was traveling with my daughter Chelsea. And together, we experienced the warmth and hospitality of the people of Pakistan. It was an extraordinary visit for both of us. And I remember the young people I met, the civil society leaders, the visit to the Faisal Mosque, my daughter discussing with the guides there the course in Islamic history she was taking in high school. I remember so well the faces of the people, the conversations that we had.

And for me, this is a personal privilege, as well as a high honor, representing President Obama and our government, because today, the people of Pakistan and the United States face shared challenges. And we are poised to benefit from shared opportunities. This is a critical moment. And the United States seeks to turn the page to a new partnership with not only the government, but the people of a democratic Pakistan.

We hope to build a strong relationship based on mutual respect and mutual shared responsibility. I am confident that if we listen to one another, we consult, we work closely together, we will succeed. Because while we may disagree from time to time, as friends and partners do, we are bound together by common interests and common values that are stronger than any of our differences. There are many areas where our nations already work together. Now, we seek to deepen those efforts and find additional opportunities for partnership. Again, not just government to government, but in the private sector, in universities, in nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, religious institutions, and of course, and most importantly, people to people, which is the kind of diplomacy that I think has the longest benefit.

In this regard, I am delighted that the foreign minister and I have agreed to resume and intensify the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue, which I will personally oversee for my country. We want a comprehensive dialogue that is results-oriented.

Now it’s obvious that one important issue facing both of our nations is security. Pakistan is in the midst of an ongoing struggle against tenacious and brutal extremist groups who kill innocent people and terrorize communities. I know that in recent weeks, Pakistan has endured a barrage of attacks, and I would like to convey my sympathy and that of the American people to the people of Pakistan. But I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan’s alone. These extremists are committed to destroying that which is dear to us as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you and to all people. So this is our struggle as well, and we commend the Pakistani military for their courageous fight, and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security. We will give you the help that you need in order to achieve your goal.

But our relationship with Pakistan goes far beyond security. That may be what is in the headlines for obvious reasons. Today, we had more vicious and brutal attacks that killed more innocent people. The terrorists and extremists are very good at destroying, but they cannot build. That is where we have an advantage. Because today, the foreign minister and I discussed the ways in which our two nations can work more closely together on behalf of the people of Pakistan as you continue your journey toward an effective, responsive, and enduring democracy.

In this time of economic challenge, we want to help you to do what you believe is best for your country. In the economic arena, we want to help you with jobs and economic development and the infrastructure that will create investments – access to education, providing more support in healthcare, and in particular, improving the energy supply, something I have heard about in every meeting that I’ve had with any Pakistani since I became Secretary of State.

Pakistan’s energy shortfall poses serious challenges to your economy and to the lives of individual people and businesses. For months, families have endured sweltering heat and evenings spent in the dark without appliances or televisions or computers. And in some places, I’m told that it happened in my own country. Blackouts prompt an increase in crimes. Without power, some factories and small businesses have closed their door, which undermines economic growth. And America wants to help.

Our first initiatives in this field were launched by Ambassador Holbrooke and his team earlier this year. And they’ve been working closely with Ambassador Patterson and our Embassy here in Islamabad, who have been working closely with your government. We recently completed an extensive energy dialogue with the Pakistani Government, led on our side by our International Energy Coordinator David Goldwyn.

In this collaboration, our experts identified several ways that the United States can help. And today, I am very proud to announce the first phase of a signature energy program for Pakistan which will help repair facilities, improve local energy providers, and promote energy efficiency. These projects, designed in close collaboration with Pakistan’s government, will repair and upgrade key power stations across your country which currently operate well below full capacity.

We will help you install new and better equipment at the Tarbela Dam power station on the Indus River. And we will help you repair or replace more than 10,000 tube well pumps nationwide, which will both save energy and increase agricultural productivity. This first phase is only the beginning of our new emphasis on assisting Pakistan in its energy sector. And as we move forward, together, we will, if Congress approves future requests, do far more together.

The foreign minister and I discussed this and many other ways that our nation will strengthen and deepen our relationship. I shared with him, as he shared with me, some of the misperceptions, some of the stereotypes and misinformation that occasionally blocks both of our countries from fully understanding and appreciating each other. Over the course of my visit, I look forward to discussing many issues of concern with business leaders, members of parliament, representatives from civil society, students, women, citizens from the northwest and other parts of the country.

And of course, my time in Pakistan would not be complete without visits to some of Pakistan’s extraordinary cultural, religious, and historic sites that make your country so important to Islamic civilization and to the modern Muslim world.

But let me end with this point, the partnership between our countries is not limited to the halls of government. I enjoyed greatly my meeting and the gracious lunch which the foreign minister hosted. But he and I both know that in democracies, there has to be a partnership between the people, and that is what I am aiming to foster. We have a united and shared vision of the kind of future that our children in both countries should be able to enjoy, where each child doesn’t have to fear when he or she goes to school or to a market that they may not make it home safely, where the God-given abilities of each child can be nurtured, and then once again, see the fruits of that kind of investment in the benefits to families, communities, and to great nations. Our fates are intertwined in the 21st century. We are interdependent and interconnected. And I’m betting that we can make the kind of future that the children of our two nations deserve.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a hallmark of a democracy, Minister Qureshi.

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Yes. All is noisy. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said you want to turn the page in our relationship and correct some misperceptions. As you increase the amounts of U.S. economic assistance along the lines that you’ve discussed, how important is it that the Pakistani people themselves actually know that this assistance in very local projects comes from the United States? And how do you propose to tell them that when U.S. officials have so much difficulty traveling around the country?

And if I might, to the foreign minister, on the question of sharing information and your views on the Administration’s strategy review, you said that the Secretary is going to carry Pakistan’s views back. Do you feel like those views have been adequately represented thus far, and in particular, on the question of the U.S. decision to begin to remove some of its military units from the Afghan border?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me answer the question that was addressed to me and then say something about the question addressed to the foreign minister. Well, we’re talking right now in front of – I’ve lost count of how many cameras and how many journalists are in this audience – to convey both the intent of our Administration to turn that page, but also the specifics. I hope that in the coverage of my visit today there will be notice of the work we are doing together to improve the energy sector, to provide more reliable electricity for the people of Pakistan in a very specific proposal that I have just put forth. I will be visiting with many members of the Pakistani press over the next three days. I will be having town halls, both here and in Lahore. So we are going to reach out and make clear as best as I can what our intentions are and what our commitments are. And it is, of course, important that that be communicated not only in English, but in other languages as well, none of which, unfortunately, I can speak. But I know that others can and that we can convey the sincerity of our commitment.

With respect to the part of your question, Karen, about military outposts, it is actually true that we have more military presence on the border, but we have changed some of the outposts’ locations. We have consolidated into some bigger outposts. And we are looking to cooperate with the Pakistani military to determine how best we can jointly address the challenges along the border.

QUESTION: Ms. Clinton, please, if you don’t mind, Mr. Obama, your president, has been accorded the Nobel Peace Prize. And you see, this is the beginning of a long road and arming peace and fighting for peace and begging for peace at (inaudible). You see that if Mr. Obama fails to bring back peace in Afghanistan, a region like that, you would be in a position and plucking the courage to ask him to return that Nobel Peace Prize?


SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m very proud that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. And the Nobel Committee made clear that in much of the world, his election represented a significant change that people felt toward our country, which certainly creates better conditions for the pursuit and achievement of peace. But as the President said, this is very hard work. We know that, but how much better it is to be on the side of the peacemakers. And that is certainly where President Obama is.

So we will be working closely together with partners and friends like Pakistan to try to realize the vision and the promise of peace. And I know that the hopes that have been raised by the President’s receipt of this prize are very high. But it is important that we hope for and work for peace together. And I am committed to doing whatever I can to realize the vision that that prize represents.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Jill Dougherty from CNN. Mr. Foreign Minister, Secretary Clinton mentioned some terrorist attacks. In fact, this afternoon, there’s a report of an attack at a women’s market in Peshawar killing, it looks, at least 60 people, if not more. There’s been a series of attacks. Military operations have displaced two million people. You had that attack of the students at the Islamic University, et cetera. How – what do you say to Pakistanis who ask: Is the fight against extremism worth it, or could taking the fight to the terrorists actually be making their lives more dangerous?

And Secretary Clinton, if you had comments on that, I would – I’d be happy to hear that.

And also, there is a report in The New York Times that the brother of Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA payroll for eight years. What is your comment on that, please?

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Let me begin by condemning the terrorist attack in Peshawar this morning. I just learned about it just before we started our talks. Sixty innocent lives were lost and some have been injured. So I pray for a speedy recovery, and I condole with the families that have lost their near and dear ones.

We are facing this on a daily basis, but the resolve and the determination will not be shaken. People who are carrying out such heinous crimes, they want to shake our resolve. And I want to address them. We will not buckle. We will fight you. We will fight you because we want stability and peace in Pakistan. You are on the run, and we know that. We defeated you in Swat and Malakand. And the brave soldiers and officers of the Pakistan army will defeat you in Waziristan. You think by attacking innocent people and lives, you will shake our determination? No, sir, you will not. We will be more determined to fight you and defeat you for our own reasons, because we have a vision for Pakistan, and that vision does not fall in line with what you stand for.

QUESTION: This is (inaudible) Urdu newspaper (inaudible). Sir, my question is that, Madame Secretary, the people of Pakistan have great regard for you and your beloved husband because in the year 2000, your husband, Bill Clinton, has visited Pakistan, and he had asked that General Pervez Musharraf not to (inaudible) the democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan (inaudible). After saying that, I want to put my question that whether you are aware of the fact the popularity graph (inaudible) of United States in Pakistan is going down day by day. So far as (inaudible) is concerned, the people of Pakistan, the parliament, the political leaders, as well as the military leadership, has shown its apprehension and concern. What steps you are going to take to remove these concerns, madame? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. And thank you for your kind words about the visit that I made with Chelsea in 1995 and the visit that my husband made in 2000. I recently reread his address to the Pakistani people, and believe strongly that what he said then has to be built on and followed through on, which is what President Obama is trying to do now. And we are committed to that. We feel very strongly, as the foreign minister said, that the extremists and the terrorists who deploy violence have to be defeated wherever they are. We have lost a number of brave young American soldiers in Afghanistan in this last – in these last months. We have watched with admiration and sadness at the sacrifice of the Pakistani soldiers as well. But this is, as the foreign minister said, a fight that cannot be avoided.

These attacks on innocent people are cowardly. They are not courageous. They are cowardly. If the people behind these attacks were so sure of their beliefs, let them join the political process. Let them come forth to the people of Pakistan in this democracy and make their case that they don’t want girls to go to school, that they want women to be kept back, that they believe that they have all the answers and that the rest of us who are people of faith have none. Let them make that case in the political arena and see how far they would get. They know they are on the losing side of history, but they are determined to take as many lives with them as their movement is finally exposed for the nihilistic, empty effort that it is.

So for us who believe that there can be differences among us, as there are differences of background, experience, culture, religion – all the differences that make life interesting and varied – we are willing to put our beliefs on the line in a democratic political process and let the people decide. And I commend the democratic Government of Pakistan for taking on this fight because it is not an easy one to undertake.

We’re going to do everything we can to speak directly to the people of Pakistan, which is what I’m here to do, to try to reverse, as you say, some of these misperceptions. I feel very strongly about it. Where there are differences, let’s discuss them and air them as friends and partners do. But let’s not magnify our differences to the exclusion of our many areas of agreement and cooperation. And I have no comment on the article.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from CNBC. First of all, just a compliment. You look very good in green.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We know that Pakistan is now --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you hold that up? I can’t hear as well as I would like.

QUESTION: Can you hear me now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, much better.

QUESTION: Okay. (Inaudible) from CNBC. We know that we are fighting a war against extremism. In particular, in the last operation, there was a marked shift of mood in people towards Taliban, and that was a huge achievement. And now also today, we lost people on the street. We’re losing soldiers in the fight against Taliban. But then we hear confusing messages from American think tanks, where they say that the real enemy is al-Qaida and not really Taliban. For instance, recently, the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also played down the threat from Taliban, saying that their capability is different from that of al-Qaida. And then, these confusing messages could also confuse a normal man in Pakistan, who have now made up their minds that the real enemy is Taliban. So who is the real enemy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for asking that. I mean, we view the extremists and the terrorists as part of a syndicate. They are connected. Al-Qaida has played a role in promoting the Taliban in Pakistan to go against the Pakistani Government, to attack the military headquarters. They cannot be separated at the leadership level. And similarly in Afghanistan, there is a very strong connection.

But what we are saying by the comments that you referred to is that in many conflicts, not just here but around the world, not everyone who picks up a gun is a committed terrorist. They might be a young man who is pushed into joining by people in his community or someone who in Afghanistan doesn’t have the way of making a livelihood, and therefore joins up because he gets paid for being a member. So we are very determined to root out the leadership and the lieutenants who are behind these kinds of attacks, who fund them, organize them, train people, recruit suicide bombers, that do what has caused such pain to the people of Pakistan and the people of Afghanistan.

But we are also open to those who change their minds, who renounce violence, are not connected with al-Qaida, and are willing to pursue their views in a peaceful, democratic manner. So that’s really what that means. Our resolve against the extremists is as strong as ever, and we are going to take measures against them that we believe will be more effective. So that’s what we’re trying to demonstrate and convey to people.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Dawn news. Are you satisfied with the steps Pakistan’s military is taking to take on Afghani network, Hekmatyar group and other such militants who are present, according to the U.S. military reports, in Pakistani territory? And do you agree with the definition of good Taliban?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, on the second part, what I was saying is really in response to that, that I don’t know about good, but I know that there are people who are caught up in the Taliban movement who may well be less than committed to any cause. They may not even be ideologically in line with what the leadership is doing, but find themselves there. And we’ve actually seen that happening on both sides of the border. I know from reports from your authorities here in Pakistan that in Swat there were people who came forth and said, “I was forced to be a Taliban. I’m not really one.” And in Afghanistan, people on the battlefield who say, “I don’t want to be part of this, but I had no choice.” So that’s what we mean. Let’s sort out the hard core and make sure we defeat them. But if there are people who wish to renounce violence and begin to get reintegrated back into society, we should at least be open to that and deal with it on a case-by-case, individual-by-individual basis.

Now, you mentioned some of the other networks that we find very troubling. But I think that the Government of Pakistan has been paying a lot of attention to all of these groups because there are connections among all of these groups. But of course, the fight in South Waziristan is of the paramount importance to the government and the people of Pakistan, and we understand that.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

PRN: 2009/T14-5