HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Hi, everyone. May I first of all welcome Secretary of State Clinton, Hillary, to Brussels. As some of you will know, we’ve met pretty regularly in the last few weeks between the UN and my visit to Washington, but it’s a great pleasure to have you here. And another opportunity really to bring ourselves up to date with all of the issues which we share and which we’ve worked on together, and where actually the collaboration between the European Union and the United States is critical, essential to our shared objectives, values, and goals, but also to our commitment to tackling some of the bigger issues that we face.
And one of those key areas in which we’re working together is Pakistan. First of all providing the immediate post-flood relief following what were unprecedented floods devastating large parts of the country, and then developing a longer-term strategy to help Pakistan’s reconstruction and, of course, its economic development, and bolstering the political support to improve the institutions and the capacity building in Pakistan, and to help those institutions to combat extremism.
I am pleased that we were able to announce at the last European Council agreed an ambitious package of support, including important trade measures, and we’re working hard now to implement this comprehensive agenda. A safe, secure, stable Pakistan is manifestly in the interests of the European Union, the United States, and the international community as a whole. And that will be my key message when I host the Friends of Democratic Pakistan conference tomorrow here in Brussels, an important meeting where the main international actors come together to discuss Pakistan’s short and its long-term needs, to set out what we can all do to support this important country, and to agree on what the democratic Government of Pakistan, for its part, can do in terms of the necessary political and economic reforms.
And I know in that meeting and beyond, I can count on the support and the collaboration of Secretary of State Clinton and, of course, the U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke in this regard. Secretary Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Cathy. I am delighted to join High Representative Ashton here today. As she said, we have been consulting closely and regularly on a full range of issues that are of concern to both the European Union and the United States, and I am very pleased that tomorrow she and Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi will host a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. It’s a group of 26 nations and institutions united behind Pakistan’s progress, and they will assess the results of the work that this group has accomplished since last year’s summit that was co-chaired by President Obama in New York.
And they will also help the international community prepare for the Pakistan Development Forum which will take place next month in Islamabad and provide a roadmap for long-term reconstruction. I regret I will not be at the meeting tomorrow; I have to return to Washington, but Ambassador Holbrooke is here to lead our delegation.
This will reinforce the importance of a global response to the crisis in Pakistan. Since the floods began, many countries have come forward with significant financial and in-kind support for the relief effort. Now, as Pakistan shifts from relief to recovery and reconstruction, more help will be needed. And it is a great pleasure to be working with Cathy and the European Union. I want to acknowledge the great effort that the European Commission and its member states have made in responding to this global crisis. I think all told, they have contributed nearly $450 million toward relief and recovery efforts. And furthermore, last month they announced the decision to extend enhanced market access to Pakistan to give Pakistani businesses a much-needed boost at this critical time.
The United States has similarly been very engaged. To date, we have provided $388 million in financial support and an additional 75 million in logistical and in-kind support. Up to 30 U.S. helicopters evacuated nearly 23,000 people and delivered more than 16 million pounds of relief supplies.
We did this first and foremost because responding to humanitarian disasters is a core value of my country, and we believe strongly that in partnership with our European friends we can contribute greatly to not just the immediate relief but the reconstruction, as we did with the earthquake in 2005 in Pakistan, with the tsunami in Southeast Asia, and as we are working together in Haiti.
We are also helping because Pakistan is our partner. We are deeply involved in an ongoing Strategic Dialogue, and next week I will host the third high-level meeting of the Strategic Dialogue in Washington and review the work that 13 working groups of the United States and Pakistani governments are engaged in.
We also believe that stability in Pakistan is essential to our shared fight against terrorism and to protect the security of the people of our country and friends and allies like those in Europe. Now, of course, the international community can only do so much. Pakistan itself must take immediate and substantial action to mobilize its own resources, and in particular to reform its economy.
The most important step that Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms that will expand its tax base. The government must require that the economically affluent and elite in Pakistan support the government and people of Pakistan. We have been very clear on that, and I am pleased that the government is responding. I know how difficult this is, but it is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while the taxpayers of Europe, the United States, and other contributing countries are all chipping in to do our part. The government must also take steps to alleviate the crippling power shortages that stifle economic growth while making life difficult for the Pakistani people.
Now, the work ahead is significant. Later today, Pakistan, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank will provide their assessment for reconstruction. It will be a daunting request. They will need to rebuild and build thousands of schools and health clinics, restore thousands of kilometers of roads, erect dozens of bridges, restore the irrigation system. And as they do so, they can count on our support. They must take the lead and we will be there by their side.
So I look forward to hearing about the results of tomorrow’s meeting and to working with the European Union, its member states, and other nations worldwide to support the future of a democratic, stable Pakistan. And again, I thank Cathy for her leadership. Thank you.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Thank you, everyone.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, all.