Remarks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi After Their Meeting
Secretary of State
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: It’s all for you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I do this all the time and there’s rarely as many people. I was telling the foreign minister he draws a big crowd here.
Well, good afternoon. It has been a great pleasure to be with Minister Qureshi once again. I am happy to extend the hospitality that he and his government so graciously extended to me during my last trip to Pakistan in the summer.
We have just wrapped up three days of intensive discussions in our third U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. Each of these sessions has been more productive than the last as we deepen our understanding of each other’s needs and discover new opportunities for cooperation. This time, we have final blueprints from each of our 13 working groups. They lay out specific agreements, actions and benchmarks for making tangible improvements in the lives of the Pakistani people. These include projects in water, electricity, women’s empowerment, health, agriculture, and most urgently, jumpstarting Pakistan’s recovery from the catastrophic floods.
I also wanted to express on a personal note, my deep sorrow and my outrage at the killing of Dr. Mohammad Farooq Khan by Taliban assassins on October 2nd. Dr. Farooq was the Vice-Chancellor of Islamic University in Swat; he was a medical doctor and humanitarian; and a religious leader who spoke out against the evils of suicide bombing. I had the pleasure of his company and the benefits of his insights during my visit to Pakistan a year ago. I would like to extend my profound sympathies to Dr. Farooq’s family, his students, and his patients.
Our governments stand together in denouncing this murder, which, unfortunately and tragically, is part of a Taliban campaign of attacks against educators, against doctors, against people who are not on the front lines of any war, but indeed are on the front lines of mercy and compassion and education. And it strikes me as not just an assault on someone like him, but on the future of the youth of Pakistan.
To build the kind of bright future that young Pakistanis deserve, people of courage must stand against these extremists. And our two governments are working closely together with governments around the world, and millions and millions of people who understand the threat that is posed, to eliminate terrorism.
As we conclude this third Strategic Dialogue session in seven months, we can see that our intensive consultations, our frank discussions, our focus on cooperation have already yielded an improvement in our bilateral relationship. Thanks to the hard work of Minister Qureshi and his team of ministers, paired with their U.S. counterparts, we have made strides on a number of projects that Pakistanis have identified as priorities, such as increasing the vaccination rate for children and saving their lives, researching solutions to the arsenic contamination of drinking water, improving the productivity of wheat and cotton farms. We are also ensuring that the advancements of women is an integral part of all the projects that we pursue together, because we know that when we elevate the role of women, it benefits their families and particularly their children, and those benefits expand to communities as well.
I’m also pleased that we’ve continued our emphasis on helping to improve the business climate. And I’m excited today to announce today a new business development and mentorship program. The 10,000 Women Initiative, run by Goldman Sachs, will partner with the State Department to bring Pakistani women entrepreneurs for intensive training at the Thunderbird School for Global Management in Arizona, where the women will learn business and leadership skills, financial management, strategic planning and operations.
The first group of businesswomen will arrive next spring. And we hope to give them, as well as many other Pakistanis, the support needed to grow their businesses, create more jobs, and invest in their communities.
We continue to work on the high priorities of energy and water. We had excellent presentations and reports today from our working groups on energy and water. We’re focused on improving the electricity service, creating more opportunities for water storage, the kind of initiatives that were important before the floods but now are absolutely essential.
So I’m looking forward to working with my counterpart and friend, Minister Qureshi, and with these very dedicated teams of Pakistani and American officials to continue to develop more ways to enhance our cooperation and produce results for the people of Pakistan.
Now, let me turn to the minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you for the leadership you have provided. Thank you for the understanding and thank you for the friendship that you have extended. Working with you has been indeed a wonderful experience. And I think, ladies and gentlemen, I would not be exaggerating if I said that collectively, we have broken the mold. We have set the ball rolling and it will only gain momentum with the passage of time.
We are determined to transform this relationship and we have collectively put together a unique format of engagement. What you saw today, what happened last night, the day before – visible, invisible – interaction, honest interaction, recognizing the fact that we could have differences – friends do have differences – but knowing the fact that we have to move ahead in our mutual interest. This relationship suits the United States as much as it suits Pakistan. We are both beneficiaries of that. The people of United States have to understand, by investing in Pakistan, United States is a beneficiary. And people of Pakistan have to understand to have United States as an enduring partner, Pakistan gains internationally and regionally.
We have discussed lots of things, lot of things which are part of the dialogue and even beyond the 13 sectors that were discussed. The fact that we’ve agreed to invite 200 journalists for a training program in the United States because we realized that public diplomacy is so important in democracies, and at times the message doesn’t get communicated. Now, who will communicate the message? You have to communicate the message. First of all, we have to understand what message we are giving, but we are giving the right message.
The message is that we are going to transform this relationship into a people-centric relationship. We are making an investment. We are making not a five-year investment; we are making an investment which is a generational investment, and that is what we are talking about. That is why when we are talking about water, we are talking about the improvement of productivity in Pakistan. When we talk about social sectors, we are talking about improvement in the quality of life of Pakistan. When we are talking about women empowerment, we are talking about giving 50 percent of the population of Pakistan a voice which they lacked in the past. That is a difference that this relationship is taking a new turn.
I also have shared with the Secretary of State when I was here in New York for the UNGA, I met Pakistanis, and they had meetings with attorneys, with lawyers, and they shared with me that if there is a natural disaster, there is a provision within the U.S. law of TPS. I had a word with the ambassador; the ambassadors had a word with the attorney. And this could be an opportunity to give many Pakistanis who are contributing to American society, to American economy, a legal status.
She’s been kind enough, she’s agreed to examine it. I think that will also improve our relations. And we’ve talked about a number of regional initiatives that we feel, if put into place, can be a game changer.
So thank you. Thank you for being so supportive and understanding.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you, Minister. Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: We have time for two questions on each side. We’ll start with Andy Quinn from Reuters.
QUESTION: I have a question for both of you. Minister Qureshi, this morning you had quite strong comments about the naysayers and the prophets of doom, as you put it, in Washington who publicly doubt Pakistan’s commitment to the anti-terror fight. I’d like to ask both of you why you think these attitudes persist and what both sides can do to turn the perceptions around.
And Madam Secretary, if I may, I’m just wondering if you have any comment ahead of the WikiLeaks release this weekend. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: I think the quality of our relationship, the depth, the understanding that we have developed over the last two years should not be judged by pure media reports. We read them, we provide them, and we benefit from them. But I think our relationship is stronger than what it is believed to be. I think at the working level, there is a greater understanding, perhaps it is often misunderstood.
Many felt when I was leaving for Washington that, “Ah ha, it’s going to be tough talking.” Friends talk. What is tough talking? I fail to understand what is tough talking. Yes, there was friendly talking. Yes, there were concerns on both sides, and we shared them, and why not? And why not? But our relationship is often misunderstood with what is reported in the media. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) I have nothing to add to that.
QUESTION: Thank you. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Sure.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very, very pleased by the progress that we have made in deepening and broadening our cooperation and our understanding. And as Minister Qureshi has said, we engage in very comprehensive discussions that go into great depth on a full range of issues. One thing that is not often reported enough is that the United States has no stronger partner than Pakistan in fighting the mutual threat we face from extremism. And the cooperation is very deep and very broad.
But as my friend said, that doesn’t mean we will agree on everything. I mean, friendship is a two-way street. We both have to work hard to maintain this friendship, and in fact, it is something we are committed to doing. As Minister Qureshi said, it’s a generational commitment. But we are two different countries. We have two different traditions. We have two different histories. That does not mean we’re going to agree on everything, but it means, as you do with friends, that you don’t jump to conclusions and you don’t presume before you have actually had a chance to explain.
And we laugh often, the minister and I, about the intensity of the free press environment in which both of us exist. I’m well familiar with the vigor of the Pakistani press and I have lots of experience with the vigor of the U.S. press. So we know, and sometimes it’s hard to explain, neither of us and neither of our governments controls our respective presses. So when something is printed in one of our countries, people jump to all kinds of conclusions, and I think that it’s wise to just take some time to think through the basis of this very important relationship and how committed we both are to moving forward, despite the challenges. So I certainly endorse Minister Qureshi’s comments.
With respect to your question, Andy, as a matter of policy, the Department of State does not comment on allegedly leaked documents. I would refer you to the Department of Defense for any further comment. But I do have a strong opinion that we should condemn in the most clear terms the disclosure of any classified information by individuals and organizations which puts the lives of United States and partner service members and civilians at risk, threatening our national security and the national security of those with whom we are working. So that’s where I think this matter stands.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi, how are you?
QUESTION: Well, before you ask, I must say that the triplets are fine. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I was about to ask you how the triplets were. This man has triplets.
QUESTION: Every time I meet, you always ask that.
These talks indeed were very successful, but there are two issues that do not seem to have gotten enough attention. One is Pakistan’s quest for a civil nuclear deal, the same that you have with India, and the other is this roadmap for Afghanistan, particularly the talks between the Taliban and the Afghan (inaudible) representative. Is there a place for Pakistan on this roadmap? And were these two issues also discussed during these talks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I can assure you that all issues have been discussed. And it’s not just what we talk about here in Washington for two days, but it’s what we continue to talk about between meetings, between our experts and our officials. And yes, there was a very long discussion about Afghanistan. Both the United States and Pakistan have very important national security interests with respect to Afghanistan. We are working together and we are consulting very closely on any roadmap forward.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Can I just add, ma’am? See, what we need to understand is that this is a process and we have begun a process. You cannot expect results in two sittings or three sittings. But the interesting thing is I’ve often read that the U.S. has been planting seeds in Pakistani minds – I am trying to plant a few seeds in the U.S. mind – for them to look at things in a more innovative way, to try things in a different way. Things we’ve tried in the past, it hasn’t worked. That doesn’t mean we give up. We are persistent. And as they say, perseverance commands success, so I am not giving up.
MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas from BBC.
QUESTION: Hi, a question for both first. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about this security assistance package that Madam Secretary announced today. The United States already gives Pakistan a lot of military aid. How is this package going to make a difference? What sort of concrete actions do you think it will result in on the ground?
And Madam Secretary, can you confirm that the United States is planning to withhold military aid from Pakistani military units that are engaged in human rights abuses?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me take both of those, Kim. This morning, I announced the Administration’s multiyear security assistance commitment to Pakistan. That does include a commitment to request $2 billion in foreign military assistance from our Congress for the years 2012 through 2016. That money for military assistance complements the $7.5 billion commitment in civilian projects that has already been approved by the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation. Now, specifically this commitment includes 2 billion in foreign military financing and 29 million in international military education and training.
We also have made a strong commitment to continue the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund Assistance based upon the ground requirements and the year-to-year needs with FY 2012 funding of no less than in recent years. And this commitment underscores our long-term relationship. We know that Pakistan has suffered a lot because of its courageous battle against extremists. I think I heard the figure that in recent times, 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed by the Taliban extremists. Some of those are, of course, military, some of those are police, and many of those are just innocent civilians going about their daily lives.
Pakistan is such a close partner with us in the fight against terrorism and in the counterinsurgency efforts that we know are necessary, and we want to support Pakistan in its fight. And to do that, we want to provide the training and equipment that they have asked for.
Now, all U.S. security assistance must be provided in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations, including what are the called the Leahy vetting requirements. And we will continue to ensure that all assistance provided through the multiyear security assistance commitment that I’m announcing today will also comply with U.S. laws and regulations. We take all allegations of human rights abuses seriously and we discuss them with the Government of Pakistan and we follow the law and we work with our partners in Pakistan to deal with any issues that come to our attention.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Ma’am, when – we saw this report on human rights, we’ve dealt with it, and we’ve dealt with it effectively. Investigation has been ordered by a very senior officer of the Pakistan army. And I can assure you that there’ll be zero tolerance against human rights violations. But we have to first foresee how authentic the report is. We have to verify and see what the truth is. And if there is action required, the Government of Pakistan will take action; that’s one. And we are aware of the Leahy amendment.
Two, the Secretary has just said that Pakistan today is the most important partner the United States has in counterterrorism. Now that partner has lost 7,000 lives in counterterrorism, and that partner has been saying that we have capacity needs. We have defense needs. And I’m so happy that this Administration has recognized the legitimate defense needs of Pakistan, discussed – and we’ve had six rounds of talks through the defense working groups and we’ve reached an understanding that equipment, training, is required. And I’m sure with this equipment and this training and this multiyear program, Pakistan will be able to deliver in a more effective manner. You have seen our delivery in Swat, in Malakand, in many agencies of the tribal belt. And we intend to do our job seriously.
QUESTION: (Inaudible), Madam Secretary (inaudible) television with --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, we’ve met before. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Good to see you, right. Secretary, a specific question to Strategic Dialogue. The predominant view of the Pakistani delegation has been that the projects being identified, the projects being discussed in the Strategic Dialogue, will have additional funding. But it looks like the view of the American side is that the funding will essentially be diverted from – not only for these projects, but also for the flood disaster, flood destruction – reconstruction. The funding will be directed from the Kerry-Lugar legislation. If that is true, the actual vision and the spirit of the Kerry-Lugar legislation will actually be totally changed. I wonder what is the view of your Administration on that, Madam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not sure that I agree with the question. Because of course, the projects that we had already announced from Kerry-Lugar-Berman were projects for the entire country. They were projects on electricity and water, agriculture, and the big projects. And many of those projects have been severely affected by the floods. So although the United States gave over $380 million dollars in direct flood assistance in order to assist the people of Pakistan to do what we said we would do, it’s both flood relief and it’s projects. But at the same time, it may be that something we prioritized last summer is no longer a priority because there’s a higher priority because of the needs of the people.
So we are in close consultation with the Government of Pakistan and this money is meant to help the people of Pakistan to really create a positive impact through civilian projects, and the list is going to be, I’m sure, affected by the floods. But the money is going for the same purposes.
QUESTION: Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Mr. (inaudible), you see a friend of Pakistan here. But I can assure you there are many friends of Pakistan in the U.S. Congress, and let me name one – a senator called John Kerry. And I had a meeting with him when I was here earlier on in September and we discussed the flood situation impact it had Pakistan’s economy. And I think they’re cognizant of the fact that the 7.5 package was for a need and now there are compounded problems and we need to have a new look. We understand the difficulties. We understand, but this is a process. This is an ongoing process. It doesn’t begin with Kerry-Lugar-Berman. It will not end with Kerry-Lugar-Berman. Kerry-Lugar-Berman says five years, but it also says there could be another five years. And I say, it goes beyond another five years. I’m talking about a generational investment.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.