Treasury Secretary Snow Visits Afghanistan and Pakistan
Released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury
On September 14, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow departed the United States for a ten-day tour through the Middle East and South/Central Asia. The trip included visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates, and meetings with top political, financial and business leaders in each country.
In Israel and the West Bank, Secretary Snow supported President Bush's vision for peace by emphasizing steps that Israelis and Palestinians can take to strengthen and improve the lives of their peoples. He met with key Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss the economic situation, encourage cooperation for mutual prosperity and urge action in the fight against terrorism.
In Saudi Arabia, the Secretary advanceed U.S.-Saudi cooperation in the financial war on terror and Saudi support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as aid to the Palestinian people. As part of war on terrorism, Saudi Arabia has taken significant steps to prevent the abuse of charities to finance terror.
In Afghanistan, Secretary Snow highlighted President Bush's commitment to reconstruction, and he reviewed U.S. efforts to build the Afghani private sector, including its financial systems, trade relations, and business environment.
In Pakistan, Secretary Snow discussed the need for continued economic reforms and pro-growth policies that will strengthen this key ally in the war on terror. He will also emphasize Pakistan's support for reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, and progress in combating terrorist financing. While there, the Secretary will tour a newly registered hawala. Pakistan has been an important partner in the war on terrorist financing and in the effort to regulate hawalas and prevent their abuse by terrorists.
In the final leg of the trip, Secretary Snow attended the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Dubai.
During three days in Dubai, both in group discussions and in bilateral meetings, Snow continued to press the themes he has pressed during his previous trips to Europe and Asia to encourage domestic led growth and job creation.
He stressed our view that the best international economic system – for the United States, for Asia, for Europe and for the world – is one based on the principles of free trade, the free flow of capital, and market-based exchange rates.
He stressed the need for each individual nation to take steps to increase economic growth in our domestic economies. Raising productivity through structural reform and private investment is the most direct route to raising living standards for our people. He will repeat what he has said time and again that the number one issue facing the global economy is the need for more engines of growth.
During his talks, he reported that as a result of President Bush's leadership, the U.S. economy is returning to higher levels of growth, but that the global economy requires Europe and Asia to attain higher levels of growth as well.
The Secretary's discussions on terrorist financing will follow significant recent progress in this area. Following the designation of several Hamas related charities and political leaders by the U.S. Treasury last month, the European Union has reached consensus on the designation of the political arm of Hamas as a terrorist organization and the Palestinian Authority and the United Kingdom have taken action to freeze accounts of charities funding Hamas.
Remarks by Secretary Snow