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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > March

The Promise of Our Partnership

Secretary Colin L. Powell
The News (Pakistan Newspaper)
March 17, 2004

Boldly confronting a host of difficult challenges, Pakistan is poised to build a better future for its citizens. With conviction and courage, Pakistan has pressed forward in the fight against global terrorism and has taken strong steps to prevent the further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Pakistani people have reached out a hand of reconciliation to their neighbors. On the domestic front, Pakistan is battling extremism and forging ahead with the difficult task of economic reform and democratic institution building.

Any one of these efforts could serve as the defining challenge of a generation. Each of them carries profound implications for regional and global stability. In all of these critical efforts, the United States stands with Pakistan in partnership. With you, we look forward to the day when you and your children will taste the full fruits of democracy, prosperity, and peace.

Some view the U.S.-Pakistan relationship as a temporary marriage of convenience. But they underestimate the strength of our mutual commitment and they lack the vision to recognize the promise of our partnership.

President Bush’s proposed five-year $3 billion aid package embodies America’s abiding commitment to Pakistan. The package contains an economic component which supports poverty reduction and will help Pakistan’s citizens prepare for success in a 21st century world. Our assistance will promote the expansion of Pakistan’s economy and we will contribute to Pakistan’s overall macroeconomic stability through debt relief, building on the $1 billion in bilateral official debt we have already forgiven. Our funding will help improve the lives of Pakistanis by enabling the government to increase its spending on education reform, on basic health care and to provide rural communities with reliable sources of water. In all of these tangible ways, and more, the United States will be a committed partner as Pakistan advances its development agenda.

Through our assistance programs, we will continue to work with Pakistanis to strengthen civil society and independent media, promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and train new legislators for participation in vibrant democratic institutions. In this regard, we welcome Parliament’s return to the pressing business of state and the steps Pakistanis are taking to advance democracy at all levels – local, provincial and national.

Our assistance programs also will enhance the security cooperation between our two countries. Today, many of Pakistan’s current and future military leaders are training alongside American officers, and we have established important channels for military-to-military consultation. We will continue to work together in such areas as border security, immigration control, crime fighting, counter-narcotics, and counter-terrorism. The U.S.-Pakistan alliance remains crucial to protecting both our countries, and the world, from terrorism. Our joint efforts have put al Qaeda on the defensive, and we will take the fight to them until bin Laden and his supporters have been brought to justice, and their networks are destroyed.
America’s cooperation with Pakistan extends beyond its borders as well, especially in support of Afghanistan’s recovery and reconstruction. Through the Tripartite Commission, the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are working together to promote mutual understanding and stability in the region.

The United States also has enthusiastically supported the farsighted steps toward reconciliation taken by President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee. Two years ago, India and Pakistan were spiraling toward conflict. Now, both leaders are shaping a composite dialogue, looking for ways to expand bilateral trade, and promoting people-to-people ties, such as the coming weeks’ cricket matches. As India and Pakistan work to resolve their differences, the United States will remain a steadfast friend to the peacemakers on both sides, and we will continue to build strong bilateral ties with each country in its own right.

As I arrive in Islamabad, the message I bring on behalf of President Bush and the American people is that the U.S. partnership with Pakistan is not just for today and tomorrow. Our partnership is for the long term. America’s interest in Pakistan is not defined by the state of India-Pakistan relations, nor driven solely by the need to secure your assistance against terrorism and proliferation. We seek to build a close and enduring partnership with you because we recognize Pakistan’s regional and global importance. Like you, we want to see Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s vision fulfilled: a peaceful, prosperous, democratic Pakistan contributing to the well being of South Asia and the world.

Released on March 17, 2004

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