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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs > Releases > Press Releases > 2002 > April-December
Press Statement

Washington, DC
November 15, 2002


Statement of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on Upcoming Trip to Southwest Asia

Released by the Treasury Department Office of Public Affairs

Tonight I leave for a week of visiting Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, an area of crucial importance to the security of the world.  Common prosperity and security are our clear mutual interests, and I am hopeful that my visit this week will lead to a greater understanding of how we can work together to advance both.

I will be visiting during the holy month of Ramadan. Over one billion Muslims throughout the world, observe this month by renewing their dedication to caring for those in need, doing good deeds, and strengthening family and community ties. To usher in the holy month, President Bush hosted an IFTAR dinner at the White House with Arab Americans and Islamic leaders. 

While I am in Pakistan, I will share that honor, as I participate in an IFTAR dinner with my counterpart, Finance Minister Aziz.  I will repeat the President’s message that learning from each other we can build bridges of mutual trust and understanding. Working together we can create a better future for people of all faiths.

In Afghanistan, I look forward to examining reconstruction efforts underway and to underscoring the importance of continued funding for President Karzai’s government budget.  We are at a critical time right now for the people of Afghanistan, accelerating the reconstruction process that will create and support stability and growth in that budding nation. 

I view this as not only a duty we in the world have to the people of Afghanistan.  I also view this as an opportunity to demonstrate that we can deliver international development assistance that creates real results – concrete improvements in the lives of individual citizens.  In that context, our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan are not only vital to the lives of the Afghani people and important for securing Central Asia against terrorist influences – they must serve as a model for what effective foreign assistance programs the world over can achieve.

I am encouraged that a joint effort between the U.S., Japan, and Saudi Arabia in road construction can be a model for future development efforts.  This project will bring back into service most of the ancient road that connects Kabul to Kandahar to Herat – a stretch of 965 kilometers.  Beyond linking three of Afghanistan's most important cities to each other and to neighboring countries, facilitating vital commerce and communication, it will connect and unite the people of Afghanistan to each other, and contribute to the national unity that the Afghan government and the Afghan people so desperately need. 

In Pakistan I will share my appreciation for the efforts of the Pakistani government and Pakistani people in combating terrorism.  Terror is a threat to all civilized people, no matter their culture or religion.  The United States and Pakistan have a shared interest in fighting terrorism to maintain the freedom of our peoples to live their chosen lives in peace and build prosperity for themselves and future generations.

I will end my trip in India, where I will attend the annual meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers.  We will have a full discussion of the global economic outlook, and I will share with them my belief that the US is on the road to recovery, and that global prosperity requires that all the economies of the world rekindle growth.  I look forward to advancing our efforts to bring greater predictability to emerging markets and to furthering our cooperation in detecting and halting the financing of terrorism.

In each of these three nations, I will spend time with the economic team to learn more about the government’s efforts to develop their economy.  I will also visit schools and small businesses, as I believe that education and entrepreneurship are launching pads for economic development.  In Pakistan I will visit a women’s sewing cooperative that was started with a small loan from a micro-finance institution, an example of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists everywhere in the world and only needs a nourishing environment of economic freedom and security to sprout and bring prosperity to all people.   In India, I will also visit the high-tech facilities in Hyderabad, where world-class facilities demonstrate some of the highest productivity in the world.  These success stories show what is possible, when citizens are allowed to reach their potential. 

Economic and security interests link the entire world more closely every day.  During this trip I look forward to furthering those ties and exploring the potential to bring self-sustaining growth and development to all the peoples of the world.

Remarks
11/22/2002: Remarks Confederation of Indian Industry
11/20/2002
: Remarks at the to Lahore University Management School
11/19/2002: Press Availability following the U.S.-Pakistan Joint Economic Forum
11/18/2002: Remarks at the Central Bank of Afghanistan



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