Good afternoon, everyone. QUESTION:
Good afternoon.SECRETARY CLINTON:
It is once again a pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Qureshi here to the State Department. I am always delighted to see him, whether it is here or in Thailand or in the Netherlands or anywhere else. And it is important because we have, once again this afternoon, engaged in a productive discussion on the broad strategic partnership between Pakistan and the United States. We believe that it is critically important for the security and prosperity of both of our nations.
I reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to an enduring partnership with Pakistan, and to work with the government and the people of Pakistan to help spur sustainable economic development, enhance safety and security, and build on recent progress in the fight against the militants who have spread terror and instability in Pakistan.
I’m looking forward to continuing our conversations during my upcoming trip to Pakistan. My visit will come at a time when our two countries are deepening our cooperation and partnership. The Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation that was passed by Congress last week unanimously is a historic chapter in our relations. What this bill does is to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the American people and the people of Pakistan. It will help build civilian institutions, healthcare, education systems, infrastructure, and other important priorities of the government and people of Pakistan.
We’ve been working together in an integrated and unified effort that extends beyond our governments to include cooperation with civil society, with the private sector, and with the very vibrant Pakistani-American community here in the United States. We’re stepping up our efforts to engage directly with the Pakistani people through educational and cultural exchanges, English language programs, scholarships, and professional linkages.
And as I mentioned to the minister, we intend to work with the Government of Pakistan to learn what is really needed and desired by the people of Pakistan to help promote innovations like mobile banking or increased microcredit. Really, I’m in public service because I want people to have a chance to live up to their own God-given abilities. And what we see in a common vision is to enhance the prospects for the children of Pakistan.
I’m pleased to announce that later this month, David Goldwyn, the State Department’s coordinator for international energy engagement, will lead a government team for a dialogue with the Pakistani Government on energy policy and investment in the energy sector to address Pakistan’s chronic energy shortfalls.
Now, we are working together in all of these areas and others as partners. We share the same goal – a peaceful and prosperous future for our people. And I’m especially grateful to have such a wise partner in Foreign Minister Qureshi. I have learned a lot from our time together. We have explored many different ideas as to what we could do to help our countries and help our people. And the rebirth of democracy in Pakistan and the achievements of your government, Mr. Minister, deserve and will receive our support and the support of your other friends around the world.FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
Well, I’ll only second what the Secretary has said, and what I want to say is this is my third engagement with Secretary Clinton. And each and every sitting and conversation we’ve had has built on the previous one. And today, I think our relationship, our understanding has improved, and you see a qualitative improvement in our relation.
I was just talking to Secretary Clinton, reminding her of when I came here last time, Washington was talking about the Swat deal. And today, Washington is talking about the successful Swat operation. Look how our relationship has developed in the last one year. Today, there’s a greater confidence. Today, we are engaging on – beyond terrorism. Today, we are caring about each other. Today, we are talking about economic development, we are talking about social assistance to Pakistan.
And this commitment that the United States Congress, the United States Administration has made through the Kerry-Lugar bill is a long-term commitment with the people of Pakistan, the people and the state of Pakistan. It’s a long-term, multiyear commitment, and I think it will improve the quality of life and the social indicators in Pakistan. I think the fact that the legislation got through unanimously in a very divisive world today is a great confidence that the U.S. Congress has reposed in the leadership of Pakistan, the administration of Pakistan, and the people of Pakistan. It’s a recognition of the sacrifice the people of Pakistan have made over the years fighting extremism and terrorism.
And it is a growing relationship. It’s a growing partnership. And we have discussed other avenues of cooperation. And the Secretary has just mentioned energy being one. That’s a forward step. The statement the co-chairs made on the 24th
of September, talks of market access – that’s another way forward. So I think we are looking towards a long-term relationship.
And the interesting thing is this commitment is not just bipartisan. After a long time, we see that the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government are working in harmony and are one as far as Pakistan is concerned. And that’s a very strong signal. That’s a very strong message for the people of Pakistan.SECRETARY CLINTON:
Thank you, sir.MR. KELLY:
The Secretary and the Minister will take a few questions. First question to Arshad Mohammed from Reuters.QUESTION:
Forgive me, I’m going to ask something that’s off topic, Secretary Clinton. Can you comment on the recent violence in Guinea and on what leverage, if any, the United States may have to try to stop it?
And Foreign Minister Qureshi, you met with your Indian counterpart a week ago Sunday in New York. I wonder if you yet have any inkling as to whether he is – the Indians are prepared to respond to your proposals and perhaps to resume the composite dialogue. And even if you don’t have that inkling yet, when would you need it to be able to arrange for a meeting of the prime ministers in – at the Commonwealth Summit next month?SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, Arshad, we were appalled and outraged by the recent violence in Guinea. The indiscriminate killing and raping that took place under government control by government troops was a vile violation of the rights of the people of that country.
We have conveyed our reaction in the strongest possible terms. Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson has made it clear to the representatives of the Guinea Government with whom he has spoken that we intend to pursue appropriate actions against the current administration in that country.
The leadership of Guinea owe a profound apology to the people who had gathered in peaceful protest against the military takeover. They owe not only that apology in words, but in a recognition that they cannot remain in power, that they must turn back to the people the right to choose their own leaders.
It will not surprise you to hear that I was particularly appalled by the violence against women. In broad daylight in a stadium, it was a criminality of the greatest degree. And those who committed such acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice. There should be no impunity, and there should be an effort to bring those who were the leaders and perpetrators of the murders and rapes to justice very shortly.FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
Yes, sir. The meeting that I had with Mr. Krishna on the 27th
of September in New York was, in my view, a positive meeting, a constructive meeting. And being a politician, I can read between the lines and I can tell you I got positive vibes, because my message was positive, my engagement was positive, my intentions are positive. And I’ve suggested a way forward, and I saw nothing in him where he could disagree with me. He was in total agreement with my message. And obviously, he’s going to go back and consult with the leadership in Delhi and we’ll take it from there. But I have suggested a way forward. QUESTION:
(Inaudible) from Dawn newspaper in Pakistan. This is for both of you. You described this Kerry-Lugar bill as a major achievement in U.S.-Pakistan relations, but somehow these feeling is not reciprocated, in Pakistan at least, by many in Pakistan, and somehow although it does show America’s sincerity in promoting bilateral relationship, but people – the reaction has been very negative, and some people have even went to the extent of suggesting that Pakistan has compromised its sovereignty. So would you like to comment on this – both of you?FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
First of all, you have to – people like you, sir, have to help us put across the message. Because the message over here that I’m getting is a very positive one. The message is of a long-term partnership with Pakistan, messages of care. This Administration is signaling care for the people of Pakistan. They want to invest in education and health and water and sanitation, democracy, and these are values that we uphold, values that we’ve been struggling for the last 10 years when we were not under a democratic dispensation.
Today, we have that opportunity. And today, we should avail that opportunity because we have, in President Obama and Secretary Clinton, two individuals who want to befriend Pakistan, the people of Pakistan. And I’m very glad that they have no intentions of micromanaging Pakistan, nor will Pakistan permit micromanagement. I have – I am very clear in my mind that they have no intentions on trampling on Pakistan’s sovereignty, nor will the government – the elected democratic government of Pakistan, which has a history, and this party that I represent has a history, has a background. Never will we allow any compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty. SECRETARY CLINTON:
I would just add to the very strong statement of the minister that those who have questions or doubts should read the legislation, which is very clear in its intent. There has rarely been such a multiyear commitment by the United States, by both, as the minister said, the Legislative and Executive Branch, on behalf of a country with whom we feel such a bond of partnership and cooperation.
I regret that some people do not understand. But I am sure that with the help of the Pakistani press represented here we can reinforce the minister’s words that this is a sincere effort put forth by our Congress with the full support of President Obama and myself to assist the people of Pakistan.
We have many very successful Pakistani Americans, many of whom are dear and close friends of mine. They have come to our country and been very successful. We believe that people can stay in Pakistan and be very successful. And this government that the minister represents is committed to that path of development and democracy, and we are going to support this mission.MR. KELLY:
Our next question goes to Janine Zacharia of Bloomberg.QUESTION:
Hi. Foreign Minister Qureshi, as a partner with the U.S. in the war against terror, could you give us a sense of whether you believe there are enough foreign troops in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban?
And Secretary Clinton, as the Administration goes on with its Afghanistan review, is President Karzai still a partner that the U.S. can work with? Thank you.FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
Do you want me to go first?SECRETARY CLINTON:
Sure.FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
Ma’am, I’m not a military man. I cannot determine the requisite level of troops that are required to be in Afghanistan. That’s for the military commanders on the field to judge and consult with the political leadership of the United States. And I’m sure that review, that re-think, is under process right now.
But what I can tell you is, on our side, we are very clear: We are capable of the job and we have started delivering. And the message is that the people of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan, and the collective political consensus in Pakistan has started moving forward, defeating terrorism and containing extremism.
Now, what we are looking for is a long-term commitment. Why do I say that? Because the people of the region have to be reassured that the United States has a long-term vision, not just for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the entire region. And when I say that, we have to keep in mind history. We have to keep in mind the past, right? And the inconsistency of the past has to be kept in mind. And we have to build on learning from the mistakes of the past.QUESTION:
How long a term of commitment?FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
Till the job is done.QUESTION:
What is that?SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, I think the minister has –FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:
A peaceful, stable Afghanistan. A peaceful, stable region. Development, prosperity, growth.SECRETARY CLINTON:
Right. I think the minister is eloquent in his description of our joint concerns. We will work with the Government of Afghanistan. We’re awaiting the outcome of the election. We understand that that, hopefully, will be forthcoming in the next days. But as the minister said, this is a commitment that we feel very strongly about and which we are evaluating to determine the best way forward to achieve the results and get the outcomes that we both share.
Thank you all very much.FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: