Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
Secretary of State
MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As-salaam alaikum. We have the honor here today to have Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar with us. They have had their meetings. They will now be speaking to you.
Over to Madam Khar first.
FOREIGN MINISTER KHAR: Thank you. (Inaudible.) A very good morning and as-salaam alaikum to everyone. I’m just (inaudible). Madam Secretary, let me welcome you to your fourth visit to Pakistan as Secretary of State, and I believe almost a sixth or seventh visit yourself.
It is – let’s make no mistake, Pakistan and U.S have gone through a challenging phase in the last few months. Before I go into the details of the constructive interaction that we had, let me clarify, let me use this opportunity to clarify certain misperceptions that might be there.
First of all, let me say to our own people, to the people of Pakistan, that all relationships between two sovereign countries are based on national interest, and this relationship, that between Pakistan and U.S., is by no means an exception to that. I have said this many times, and I would like to repeat that we do believe that Pakistan and U.S. have a convergence on what are our stated objectives for the region. I don't think there’s anybody in this room, or in the two countries, which can counter the fact that both Pakistan and U.S. strive to achieve stability and peace and security for the region.
Let me also state at the very outset that Pakistan – it is in Pakistan’s national interest to have a strong and prosperous Afghanistan. I believe there is no country in the world which has more to gain from stability in Afghanistan, and there’s no country in the world which has more to lose from instability in Afghanistan than Pakistan. So I want to clarify that Pakistan’s interest in Afghanistan are limited to a strong, stable Afghanistan.
National interest of any country, as I have said before, are – have people at its heart, have people at its center, and nothing represents the will of the people better in the democratic setting than the parliament of that country, and when the parliament of Pakistan, in its resolutions, asks us to revisit and review our terms of engagement with the U.S., let me assure you that that is what our engagement in the last six months has been about, in a constructive, meaningful fashion.
Let me thank you, Madam Secretary, on a personal note for you to take this initiative to engage with Pakistan at the highest policy level. I think Madam Secretary’s repeat visits to Pakistan is a testimony to her effort to engage with Pakistan at a policy level, at a high policy level, so the strategic convergence that we already enjoy is translated into an operational convergence or an operational work plan. And this relationship, like any other relationship between two sovereign countries, is not based on a to-do list, and I think we all agree on that.
Now coming back or coming to the talks that we just held, I would call them to be certainly useful and substantive talks. Madam Secretary has had extensive consultations last night, also. We discussed during this hour bilateral relations, counterterrorism cooperation, peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Let me say that the Pakistan-U.S. Strategic Dialogue is an important element of this relationship. We will endeavor together to be able to restructure it in a way that we can both benefit more from it. I think it’s an important message to our people, it’s an important message of collaboration to your people. And we would hope that we can agree on six tracks in which to be concentrated so we can show results of our engagement and be emboldened by it and be – and get some confidence on the usefulness of this engagement.
We have also exchanged views on issues which are of mutual importance and certainly of importance to Pakistan. Pakistan Government has clearly defined its interaction with the world community, firstly in the realm of economic cooperation, and asks the world to be able to recognize Pakistan’s unique position in the efforts that we are making and the unique challenges that we face and the unique sacrifices and losses that we’ve had to make.
And in recognition of that, I think what Pakistan asks of the world is more trade access. I know that the U.S. has had a long-term commitment on that. We appreciate your personal leadership within that, and we hope that in the months and years to come Pakistan will see itself to enjoy preferential market access from the U.S. Let me also say that this is a relationship which must – which has been for far too long defined by forced dependency or by assistance, and we hope that this relationship will now be marked by trade and market access in terms of economic cooperation.
Let me reiterate over here, Madam Secretary, in your presence, Pakistan’s commitment to fight the menace of terrorism. As I said before, we do it in our own interests. We do it in the interest of our people. We do it most for the interest of upcoming generations. And at the same time, let me also say that the people of Pakistan have suffered at the hands of this struggle for far too long. And let me state clearly that in evolving any future strategy, the government will be guided by the principles or the resolution of the All Parties Conference, which calls upon the government to give peace a chance. And I think we can together – Madam Secretary, you will agree – work towards peace to bring prosperity to this region.
At the end, let me say that we continue to look at the Istanbul Conference with positivity, and we hope to be able to play a constructive role, not only in Istanbul Conference, but also in the Bonn Conference. Pakistan takes its role within the region, the responsibility which it imposes on us very, very seriously, and we hope that we will be a constructive player in all of this, and we will be seen to be a constructive player.
And Madam Secretary, let me end by saying that we – that I hope that I can speak on behalf of both of us when I say that the reinvigorated U.S.-Pakistan relationship ought to bode well for peace and security within the region, which is the goal of both these countries.
Over to you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Khar, for not only welcoming us today but for your leadership and efforts on behalf of our relationship. I greatly appreciate it. I was also pleased to see Prime Minister Gilani last night and a high-level delegation on both sides that reflects the urgency and the importance, as well as the respect, that is necessary between our two countries to work through the many challenges that we both face.
Before I begin, I just want to say a few words about Libya. The death of Colonel Qadhafi has brought to a close a very unfortunate chapter in Libya’s history. But it also marks the start of a new era for the Libyan people. And it is our hope that what I saw in Tripoli on Tuesday firsthand – the eagerness of Libyans to begin building a new democracy – can now begin in earnest. And I want to underscore the commitment of the United States to supporting the Libyan people as a friend and partner as they embark on this new democratic path.
It is, for me, once again a great privilege to be representing my country here in Pakistan. As the foreign minister said, I have been here four times as Secretary of State previously as a senator and as the first lady of my country. The United States is committed to the people of Pakistan and to your future. We do believe, however, that our relationship must work to deliver results for both of our people – the Pakistani people and the American people. And as the foreign minister said to me last night, generations of Americans and Pakistanis have worked well together. We want the next generation of young people in both of our countries to understand the importance and value of this relationship.
Now, it is no secret that the United States and Pakistan do not always see eye-to-eye, and we will not resolve the differences in our views in any single visit. But it is true that beyond the disagreements that drive the headlines, a number of our most important issues overlap. For example, the stability of Pakistan and the region directly impacts the security of the United States. Therefore, it is in both Pakistan’s and the United States interest to help the Afghan people build a stable, sovereign, and independent nation that is not a source of terrorism or a threat to its neighbors. And I was pleased to hear the prime minister emphasize that in our discussion last night.
We recognize and we sympathize with the fact that violent extremism has taken the lives of thousands of Pakistanis, also thousands of Americans and thousands of Afghans. So stopping terrorism is an urgent interest that we share.
It is also important to us that you understand our commitment to a stable, secure, sovereign, prosperous Pakistan. I know some here in this country have doubts about America’s goals and motives, so let me be clear: The United States sees a strong, stable, secure, prosperous Pakistan as critical to the stability, security, and prosperity of the entire region. Again, Prime Minister Gilani made this same point last night.
That’s why we consider working with Pakistan to be not just the right thing to do, but also very much in our mutual interests. Today, the foreign minister and I discussed concrete steps that each country can take to advance our shared interests.
First, on regional stability. As I said in Kabul yesterday, Pakistan has a critical role to play in supporting Afghan reconciliation and ending the conflict. The trilateral meetings held earlier this year between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States were a good start, but we need to keep the momentum going and make it clear that an inclusive peace process is in everyone’s interests.
Coalition and Afghan forces are increasing the pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan, and across the border we look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith.
Now, we are not, by any means, asking Pakistan to sacrifice its own security. Quite the contrary, we respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and its own security concerns. We believe we are pursuing a vision of shared security that benefits us all.
The foreign minister and I also discussed the other elements of security. Ending terrorism is the most urgent task before us, but it is by no means the only task. We want to advance together the vision of a New Silk Road, which would increase regional economic integration and boost cross-border trade and investments between Pakistan and all of her neighbors. That will translate into more jobs and economic opportunities for Pakistanis and for their neighbors, and thereby increase political stability.
Toward this end, the United States welcomes the progress that Pakistan and India are making toward normalizing their trade relations, as well as the implementation of the Transit Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Now, I have from podiums like this many times, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in the United States, expressed our sympathies to the people of Pakistan for the grievous toll that terrorism has taken on the Pakistani people. We recognize and respect the sacrifice of 30,000 killed by terrorists in the last 10 years. We respect the challenges that Pakistan faces and we respect the work we are doing together, including our cooperation against al-Qaida.
So terrorism is a challenge we share, and we want to work together to root out all of the extremists who threaten us, including the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. We should be able to agree that for too long extremists have been able to operate here in Pakistan and from Pakistani soil. No one who targets innocent civilians, whether they be Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans, or anyone else, should be tolerated or protected.
And finally, the foreign minister and I discussed our work together to foster sustainable development here in Pakistan. The United States has invested billions of dollars over the last years to help Pakistan meet its growing energy needs, respond to the terrible natural disasters that have afflicted you, to grow your economy, strengthen your democracy. Why? Because we believe that a thriving Pakistan is good for Pakistan and good for the region and good for the world. And we will continue to support Pakistan’s elected government and its people.
Now, I understand the impulse that is common in any nation that we look for someone else to blame or someone to think that there’s no responsibility that can be taken, or for outsiders to act as though they have all the answers. Well, we reject all of that. We want a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual responsibility. And therefore, it is up to the leaders of Pakistan to follow through on their commitments to reduce corruption, implement reforms, and deliver real results for the Pakistani people. And it is up to the citizens of Pakistan to demand those results and to take the steps necessary to assist your country in fulfilling its enormous potential.
As the people and the Government of Pakistan chart your future, you can be sure that the United States will be there to stand with you. We offer our suggestions and recommendations in the spirit of the friendship that has survived all of the decades of ups and downs between our two nations, because at root there is so much between the Pakistani people and the American people that we value and believe in.
So I wish to thank the foreign minister for her candor and her commitment to this relationship, and I look forward to continuing this conversation with President Zardari, other Pakistani officials, citizens and members of the press, later today. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. The Secretary and the minister will take two questions from the U.S. media and two from the Pakistani media. So to begin with, we’ll start with the Pakistani media. Mariana (ph).
QUESTION: For Secretary Clinton, I would like your comments on a statement made by General Kayani about three or four days ago. This was in response to threats coming in from Washington, and he said very clearly that Pakistan was not a Afghanistan or Iraq. We are a nuclear power. Your comments on that?
And for Minister Khar, have these negotiations since last night helped you understand better what the U.S. now wants from us? Would you now help bring the Haqqani Network for talks with the U.S., or would you allow them to take them out themselves since you say you won’t take them out? So what is the understanding that you get now about the U.S. policy in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the Haqqani Network? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying that I agree with General Kayani. Pakistan is not Afghanistan, and Pakistan is not Iraq. Pakistan is a sovereign nation that has a very full and comprehensive agenda of issues to address both domestically and internationally. And the United States will continue to work with the Pakistani Government and reach out to the Pakistani people on that agenda.
But if I could, let me just respond on behalf of the United States to your question about the discussions that we had, because I think it’s important to recognize we had serious, in-depth discussions that reflected the urgency of the issues before us. And these are issues that we feel are important for us to address together. The Afghan peace process, reconciliation – how do we do it? How do we make it work? The Haqqani Network – how do we prevent them from wreaking havoc across the border and, in the words of both Pakistanis and Americans, squeeze them to prevent them from planning and executing attacks. How do we tackle the problem of improvised explosive devices that kill Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans?
So we had a very in-depth conversation with specifics, and we are looking forward to taking that conversation and operationalizing it over the next days and weeks – not months and years, but days and weeks – because we have a lot of work to do to realize our shared goals.
FOREIGN MINISTER KHAR: Thank you. To respond to your question directly, I don’t look at it in the framework of what the U.S. now wants from Pakistan. I look at it in the framework of partnership and with working together for what are clearly stipulated as common goals and objectives.
I don’t think there is anyone in the Pakistani Government, in the Pakistani institutions, who denies that Pakistan needs to work for security and peace in this region, including Pakistan itself and Pakistan first from within its borders. And you see an effort in Pakistan which is unparalleled, which has taken a toll on the people of Pakistan, which has taken a toll on our economic prosperity, on our projected potential – many, many other things – on our people, on life.
So let me just say that yes, the Secretary is absolutely right; we have held in-depth discussion on all issues of mutual interest. This includes the issue of reconciliation. Pakistan has said this before and Pakistan will say it again, that we are committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of reconciliation.
Now, it is quite another thing to say that we are all committed to the process of reconciliation, but then you have to operationalize that process of reconciliation. Pakistan did make some efforts in trying to operationalize together with our Afghan brothers at possible reconciliation. The joint commission shared by the two heads of government, respectively President Karzai, Prime Minister Gilani, was an important effort within that direction. The working group working under that joint commission was another important effort within that direction. The Core Group that exists between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and [the United States] is an important effort in that direction.
So as I said, the challenge now is to be able to really go down to the operational level and agree on the operational details. I don’t think what we seek out to achieve is any different than each other’s objectives. I think we have the same objectives. But it is really having the intensive discussions that the Secretary referred to. That’s why I say that I am really very pleased to have her here, and the fact that she has played a leadership role within the U.S. system to engage at the policy level, which is required. Because if we have ownership of what we seek out together, we are much more likely to agree on the operational details than the other way around.
So let me just say that yes, we have had intensive dialogue, but it is really – I would resist from this relationship to be seen by – within Pakistan or in Washington by what they want from us or what we want from them. I think really let’s give partnership a chance and – and as far as what inhibits us or what directs us. As I said before, it is the parliament of Pakistan. It is the APC’s resolutions. We will all be guided by national interests which are represented by state institutions, and to Pakistan there is no state institution bigger than that of a sovereign parliament.
MODERATOR: The next question, Elise Labott from CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Madam Secretary, I wanted to ask you, the Pakistanis – you had some very tough words, not just today but even tougher yesterday, for Pakistan and the idea of safe havens and what you’re looking for the Pakistanis to do. When you talk to Pakistanis, they say that you don’t – you’re using them as a scapegoat. And even while you say you’re not looking for Pakistanis to risk or sacrifice their own security by asking them to take these steps, that’s exactly what you’re doing, because to go after extremists in Afghanistan will invite more terrorism on Pakistan. How do you reconcile these two disparate views?
And Foreign Minister Khar, if I could pick up on my Pakistani colleague’s question, I do think that the U.S. has been clear that they’re asking the Pakistanis to take the lead on reconciliation. Yesterday, President Karzai said that it’s no use negotiating with the Taliban when the Pakistanis are the ones that are really running the show here. And so the Pakistanis – and the Secretary said she is looking for you to take the lead.
Is Pakistan willing to do so? Is Pakistan willing to take an active part in the reconciliation, and are you willing to take specific steps? Did you make that pledge that Secretary Clinton asked for to go after safe havens of the Haqqani Network? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, let me provide a few more details about our discussions, because I have said the same thing everywhere, that I view this as a joint responsibility that among the Afghans, Pakistanis, Americans, and others in the international community who want to see the conflict come to an end and wish to see a peaceful, stable, secure Afghanistan, which is very much in the interest of Pakistan.
We have to translate our good wishes and our hopes into specific actions. And so we’ve discussed peace process at some length, and both of us have agreed and are committed to constructively support it. We did encourage that Pakistan and Afghanistan get back to working together as they have been, as the foreign minister just referenced, through direct dialogue. We need to restart the Core Group, which is Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States that had been functioning. We need a work plan to actually sequence out what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it together.
The process needs to be transparent and open so that there are not the constant questions and even suspicions that arise. We heard last night from all members of the Pakistani delegation, and certainly on our side of the table, that a secure, stable Afghanistan is very much in the interest – in fact essential – to a secure, stable Pakistan. We could not agree more. That has been our position. That is what we have been advocating. And we agreed that the All Parties Conference, which I saw as a very significant statement, again, just referenced by the foreign minister, that all parties, all parties in Pakistan, officially support the peace process. I think that’s a very important public commitment that we welcome and that they, in the phrase used, want to give peace a chance. Well, in order to give peace a chance, we have some work to do. And that’s what we have been discussing in detail.
Secondly, with respect to the Haqqanis, we both agreed that terrorism coming from any source is a threat to all of us. We expressed very clearly our concerns about safe havens on both sides of the border. We reasserted our commitment to doing more on the Afghan side of the border to try to eliminate safe havens that fuel insurgency and attacks inside Pakistan. And we asked very specifically for greater cooperation from the Pakistani side to squeeze the Haqqani Network and other terrorists, because we know that trying to eliminate terrorists and safe havens on one side of the border is not going to work. It’s like that old story; you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard. We know that – on both sides of the border. So we are working to establish concrete steps to address the planning and execution of attacks inside Pakistan and inside Afghanistan that cross the border.
And finally, we had an important discussion about an issue that doesn’t get enough attention but is a very important one in terms of the danger and the death that it creates. And that’s these improvised explosive devices, the so-called IEDs, where people pack explosives into cars and trucks and kill hundreds of people, and maim and injure hundreds more. We support the swift implementation of the Pakistani national counter IED strategy, so we had very in-depth discussions about the steps we will take individually and together to try to get to our common objective.
FOREIGN MINISTER KHAR: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Let me just respond to the question. On reconciliation, let me be unequivocal about it and that we be as clear as words can – as I can be in words that Pakistan and U.S. together – and I think in the presence of Madam Secretary I can say – support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, reconciliation process. Pakistan has conveyed this. Pakistan, as I have expressed to you before, worked on it. And we are willing to support to any extent a reconciliation process which is led by the Afghan people, because it is in Afghanistan that this process must be led. It is towards Afghanistan that this process must see its eventual solution.
So we are committed to this process. We would be willing to do whatever is within our – whatever we can to be able to make this a success.
Now, specifically, I agree with Madam Secretary absolutely; the All Parties Conference, as I said before, is going to be the guiding principle for Pakistan on all of the questions that you have raised. Give peace a chance on both sides of the border, so we must explore and give peace a chance on both sides of the border, and as and when that doesn’t work, we can look at whatever options exist. But as guided by the All Parties Conference to give peace a chance on both sides of the border. Both sides of the border, people living on both sides of the border have seen too many years of conflict, have seen too many years of strife, have seen too many years of instability. And it is in our interest that we are able to work towards peace on both sides of the border.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, sir. Here comes a microphone.
QUESTION: This is Mateem Heder (ph) representing Dawn News Television. You talked about Haqqani Network in North Waziristan and urged the Pakistani authorities that the Haqqani Network should be squeezed; there must be an operation. But what about remaining Haqqani Network inside in Afghanistan, so why U.S. is not squeezing that network which is operating in Afghanistan?
Second, militants are crossing over from Afghanistan to Pakistan and attacking not only the security posts but also attacking the civilians as well. So U.S. has huge presence in Afghanistan, so how militants are roaming around freely? So why U.S. is not taking any action inside in Afghanistan against Haqqani Network and against the militants who are operating freely? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me underscore what I had said: I believe strongly that we must take action on both sides of the border. And in recent days, the United States and Afghans have led a very successful operation inside Afghanistan against Haqqani operatives. Many dozens, if not into the hundreds, have been captured or killed on the Afghan side of the border. So we are trying, in response to the legitimate concerns that we have heard from our Pakistani partners, we are trying to squeeze and prevent terrorists on the Afghan side of the border from attacking Pakistan.
Now, similarly, we need greater cooperation on the Pakistani side of the border. In effect, we want to squeeze these terrorists so that they cannot attack and kill any Pakistani, any Afghan, any American, or anyone. So that’s exactly what we’re doing, sir; we’re trying to increase our efforts on the Afghan side of the border, and we’re working with our Pakistani partners to explore the ways that we can squeeze them.
But it’s not just military action. There is greater sharing of intelligence so that we can prevent and intersect the efforts by the Haqqanis or the Taliban to try to cross the border or to plan an attack. And this includes the Pakistani Taliban. When I talk about terrorists, I’m talking about all of them, the entire network of terrorists who threaten Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans, and everyone. We think that we can do more to appeal to the Pakistani people to report suspicious activity, to work with their law enforcement personnel, so that we can begin to deny safe haven on both sides of the border. That is our mutual goal.
MODERATOR: The last question is Andrew Quinn from Reuters.
MODERATOR: No, we said to Andrew Quinn from Reuters.
QUESTION: Hello. This is Andy Quinn from Reuters.
Madam Secretary, if we could just go back to the question of the militants and the safe havens. There’s been another threat this morning from the Pakistani Taliban that they’re going to launch a new war in Pakistan, and I’m wondering what your advice is to the Pakistan Government in light of threats like these which seem to reemerge as quickly as they can be faced down. What practical steps are you proposing that the Pakistanis take on the ground to make good your request to crack down on the safe havens? And how can you ask more of the Pakistani military when you’re holding back hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military assistance and have not yourselves declared the Haqqani Network a foreign terrorist organization?
And Foreign Minister Khar, sort of the same question but directed at you: There seems to be some question about whether the Pakistani military could actually crack down on the Haqqani Network even if it wanted to. Do you think that the U.S. is asking the impossible of Pakistan with this request? And is your emphasis on peace talks on both sides of the border a reflection of an understanding that you cannot conquer this militarily? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andy, first, let me say that as I mentioned earlier, the Pakistani Taliban are a terrible threat to Pakistan, and we want to do everything we can to help Pakistan deal with that threat. We think that the threat, the scourge of terrorism is indiscriminate, and therefore, we have to increase our intelligence-sharing, our planning, our military cooperation, economic assistance in areas to peel people away from the intimidation and efforts of the extremists to enlist them. We – it’s a big agenda to deal with this threat of terrorism.
But the bottom line is we have no choice. There is an urgency to this because it is interrupting the daily lives of innocent people. Women going to the market, children going to school, police officers patrolling streets – I mean, innocent people who wake up in the morning in Pakistan or Afghanistan just trying to go about their lives and are brutally murdered by terrorists whose disregard for human life seems to be endless.
So yes, we take seriously the threats internal to Pakistan as well as cross-border threats, and that is why we have to do the three things simultaneously that I talked about yesterday in Kabul: We have to continue fighting this threat, we have to talk with those who are willing to talk to try to be part of a peace process to end the threat, and we have to try to build a better future in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the region. So we are not just a one-note song here. We are trying to put together a broad basis for our cooperation. And I want very much for the people of Pakistan to understand that we believe we’re in this fight with you, and we want to do whatever we can to try to end the violence and eliminate the threat that stalks innocent people’s lives.
And I guess finally, I would say that we’ve had great cooperation in the past. The efforts we’ve undertaken with the support of the Pakistani Government to go after al-Qaida has proven to be quite effective. Now we have to turn our attention to the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani, and other terrorist groups, and try to get them into a peace process, but if that fails, prevent them from committing more violence and murdering more innocent people.
FOREIGN MINISTER KHAR: Thank you. Okay. First of all, let me just say that I would want to emphasize that Pakistan by no means takes this threat of terrorism unseriously. I want to emphasize that because in many of these questions that have come from the floor, there seems to be an impression that Pakistan wants to fight – or not look at this – or Pakistan does not look at this threat seriously and does not respond to this threat seriously.
Let me say that if the last five years, seven years, eight years are anything to go by, we have taken this threat seriously. We have acted against this threat. We have acted against this threat inside our borders. We have acted against this threat by cooperating with the U.S. and 48 other countries. We have acted against this threat by cooperating with Afghanistan. So we do take this threat very, very seriously.
Now, as to what is the modus operandi – and let me also say – let me reconfirm that there is no question of any support by any Pakistani institutions or any – Pakistani institutions to safe havens in Pakistan. Let me be unequivocal, completely clear on that. And that is something that came up during the long interactions that we had with you, Madam Secretary, and also during the long interactions that the Pakistanis internally had through the leadership represented by all the Pakistani political leaders in the All (inaudible) Conference.
So let me be clear on those two counts: One, that we do take the threat very, very seriously because we live through the threat on a daily basis. We live through the threat on an hourly basis. And secondly, that there is no question of any support to any safe havens inside Pakistan. Do safe havens exist on both sides of the border? Yes, the Secretary is right; safe havens do exist on both sides of the border. Do we need to cooperate? Terrorists exist on both sides of the border. Do we need to cooperate together to be able to achieve the results? Yes, we can cooperate more and achieve better results than doing (inaudible).
So let – after being clear on those two counts, let me also be clear that we are keen to cooperate with you and other countries more closely to be able to evolve a common strategy to be able to fight against terrorism. We are keen to be able to share, to be able to increase our cooperation in the intelligence field and other fields. Let all that be clear.
But let me also be clear that like any other nation, Pakistan is going – Pakistan’s future strategy is going to be determined by the institutions that are Pakistan-based that are in Pakistan. Let me also be clear that it is the parliament of Pakistan which gives authority to the executive of Pakistan to give authority for any military action. So let all those things be clear. And within that paradigm, I don’t see ourselves to hopefully be working toward – at counter purposes to each other. I don’t think that’s for the betterment of the people of this region as a whole. The United Nations – the United States has great interest in this region. The United States has a huge presence just across the border.
So these are all realities, and we live and work within these realities. So we from Pakistan react, therefore, very strongly, with all due respect to everybody who is (inaudible). Therefore, we react rather strongly when Pakistan is deemed to be working at counter purposes to the international effort, because we feel that, if anything in the last 10 years as a country which has worked for that international effort at the forefront of that international effort, has paid in blood, in economic terms, and many other terms, it is Pakistan. So Pakistan, in this overall effort, is part of the international effort, and we must be seen to be that.
And yet, as I said before, as the prime minister also said as was reflected in the statement that came from the meeting that Madam Secretary had over there, we have to give peace a chance. And as Madam Secretary also said, I think that’s really the effort on both sides of the border. The operational details of what you try, how you try, when you give up on one and start working on the other, are all operational details. So let’s agree on the principles and let us say that I believe that we have a broad convergence on the principles. We have to now work on the operational details. And hopefully, as we go forward with greater interaction both at the policy level and at other levels, we will be able to get that operational convergence which has (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Khar.