World has interest in Pakistan’s success – US Pres Obama


New York : Invoking shared world interest in helping Pakistan through its current economic and extremism challenges, U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a “sustained” and “expanded” commitment to the well being of the Pakistani nation.

Support TwoCircles

“All of us are here today because we share an interest in the success of the Pakistani people. We stand with them – as friends, and as partners – on behalf of a future with greater security and prosperity; and we stand with the institutions of Pakistan’s government as they seek to strengthen their democracy,” he said at a major international forum.

He was co-chairing first ever Friends of Pakistan Summit that brought together leaders from 20 leading Western and Asian countries, declaring their resolve to assist Pakistan in rebuilding its northwestern areas along the Afghan border, where Pakistani forces recently carried out operations to oust Taliban militants.

President Asif Ali Zardari and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown co-chaired the summit.

Pakistan, a front line ally in the fight against militants along the Afghan border, has suffered massive economic losses to the tune of $ 35 billion in its anti-terror effort, and needs economic cooperation to pull itself out of it economic and security troubles.

The U.S. leader, who also announced the passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill in the Senate on $ 1.5 billion annually for Pakistan up to five years, voiced his support for democracy in the country.

Obama congratulated President Zardari and the member states and organizations for the progress that has been made towards the initiative in an extraordinarily difficult situation.

“Most of all, I would like to reaffirm my country’s deep commitment to the people of Pakistan.”

He said the anti-terrorism allies face a common threat and the violent extremists pose a threat to the region, to the United States, and to the world. “Above all, they threaten the security of the Pakistani people.”

“But whereas these extremists murder innocent men, women and children – and offer the people of Pakistan people nothing but destruction – we are here on behalf of a more hopeful future. We believe that hope can triumph over fear, and that adversity can be replaced by opportunity.”

However, Obama acknowledged that “success will require a sustained and expanded commitment from the international community.”

“And that is why we are here today. Through the Friends of Democratic Pakistan – and through our bilateral relationship – the United States is firmly committed to the future that the Pakistani people deserve – a future that will advance our common security and prosperity.

“That is why my Administration has pledged substantial support for Pakistan, and the U.S. Congress has worked aggressively and effectively to expand development and economic assistance.

“Just as we will help Pakistan strengthen the capacity that it needs to root out violent extremists, we are also committed to working with all of you to help Pakistan improve the basic services that its people depend upon – schools, roads, and hospitals. We must also address an energy crisis that has added a huge burden, and we look forward to supporting the Pakistani government’s efforts to strengthen its energy sector through partnership with this forum.

“Finally, we will also work with the Pakistani government to as it makes its institutions more transparent and responsive, so that assistance reaches the people who need it, and Pakistan’s commitment to democracy is buttressed by a commitment to the rule of law.”

The U.S. president believed “that the people of Pakistan can and will shape their own future. America has great respect for the Pakistani people, and I have personally been enriched through my travels to Pakistan and my friendships with Pakistani-Americans.

“I have no doubt that if Pakistan harnesses the talent, and ingenuity, and ambition of its own people – then there is no obstacle that can stand between it and a future of greater peace and prosperity.”

He said the world leaders have gathered at Friends of Pakistan Summit to reiterate commitment to the country’s effort.

“We are here today to reaffirm our support for that effort. We are here to meet our mutual responsibility for our future. We know that there are difficult challenges ahead. But that is why we must remain focused, we must be committed, and we must stay together. As Pakistan makes progress, the United States will be there as a partner. And we will continue to work with President Zardari, Prime Minister Brown, and all of the nations and organizations in this room on behalf of the future that the Pakistani people deserve.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday and discussed wide-ranging issues including economic development of Pakistan and common security concerns.

President Zardari,was assisted by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Chairman National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee Asfandyar Wali and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani.

Secretary Clinton was accompanied by U.S. Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Susan Rice and Ambassador Robin Raphel, coordinator for US aid to Pakistan.

President Zardari is heading Pakistani delegation to the UN General Assembly session.