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Text: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton remarks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

October 28, 2009|U.S. Department of State

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — 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.

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