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Cablegate: Prime Minister Gilani and Codel Cardin Discuss Bilateral

VZCZCXRO0651
OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #2303/01 1890704
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 070704Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7623
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 8803
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8214
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3465
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 9961
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 5705
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 4480
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 002303

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON EAID PTER IN PK
SUBJECT: PRIME MINISTER GILANI AND CODEL CARDIN DISCUSS BILATERAL
RELATIONSHIP

Classified By: DCM Peter W. Bodde, for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. In a June 30 meeting with Codel
Cardin, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani requested increased
cooperation with the U.S. on security and economic assistance. He
also firmly asserted that Pakistan's nuclear assets are protected and
expressed hope for greater international focus on Afghanistan and the
Pakistani border regions. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) A Congressional delegation composed of Senator Benjamin L.
Cardin (D-MD), and Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mike
McIntyre (D-NC), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), and Zach Wamp (R-TN) as well
as the Deputy Chief of Mission met June 30 with Prime Minister
Gilani. Topics covered included: importance of the bilateral
relationship, security in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA), and Afghanistan. The Pakistani government is working on a
three prong approach in the fight against terrorism, according to
Gilani. The first prong involves the political process and engaging
the tribesmen who renounced violence and can be brought into
mainstream politics. The second prong focuses on development:
Gilani claimed the primary cause of the problems in the border areas
is the lack of jobs, health care, education and communication with
the outside world. The third prong will involve the use of military
force if necessary.

----------------------
Increased Cooperation
----------------------

3. (C) Gilani expressed appreciation for the "bilateral support" from
the United States. He noted the perception in the U.S that the GOP
has engaged in agreements with the militants, but was quick to
elaborate that the new coalition government has not concluded any
peace agreements. Instead, they are concluded by provincial
governments. He requested increased cooperation with the U.S. on
defense, education, health and in establishment of the Reconstruction
Opportunity Zones (ROZs). Gilani also sought increased cooperation
on intelligence efforts and noted that the perception in Pakistan was
that "we are fighting a war for America and we need to explain this
is a war for humanity." Further stating that "the focus of the world
needs to be on this part of the world," Gilani commented that the
foreign fighters in Pakistan are "doing mischief in Afghanistan and
here." Noting that the foreign fighters find a haven in Pakistan
because of the poverty and lack of education, Gilani requested
assistance in finding a "permanent solution."

------------
Afghanistan
------------

4. (C) Gilani noted that three million Afghan refugees are living in
Pakistan. Stability must be established in Afghanistan so these
refugees can go home. Noting that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi had recently traveled to Paris for the Afghan donor
conference, Gilani expressed hope that the jirga process could help
establish cross border stability. He also commented that Pakistan
hopes to build a fence and implement a biometric system to track
border movements, but needs a mutually agreed strategy with
Afghanistan to do so. Responding to Senator Cardin's question on
whether Pakistan had the measures necessary to deal with border
security issues, Gilani noted that the refugees should go back to
Afghanistan; however, without economic development to address the
"root causes" of instability, this will not be possible.

5. (C) Responding to Rep. Sanchez's question about what the U.S.
needs to do to get Afghanistan "back on track," Gilani replied that
U.S. should simply "stay the course." Further stating that there is
a perception that the U.S. will leave prematurely and that it was
imperative to "see what you have started through to conclusion."
Senator Cardin noted that he feels strongly that "we need to deal
with the problems in Afghanistan and must work together to build on
the progress already made."

---------------------
Economy and Security
---------------------

6. (C) Cardin noted that economic stability in Pakistan is critical
for the regional stability, adding that eventually the U.S. would
like to see the money spent on terrorism shifted to economic growth
and helping the Pakistani people. Rep. Wamp noted that the "U.S.
can't work out your political and judicial issues but we can help

ISLAMABAD 00002303 002 OF 002


with the economy and security because [Pakistan] is the linchpin for
the whole region." Further stating that this is "a critical moment
in the history of the world, specifically relating to Pakistan," Wamp
noted his friendship with Benazir Bhutto and invited Gilani to
regularly participate in the National Prayer Breakfast as she had
done each year. Responding to Rep. Aderholt's question regarding the
coalition's priorities, Gilani noted that Pakistan's priority now is
first to fight against terrorism and second to build the economy.
He further elaborated that whenever there is a bombing in the
country, Pakistan looses foreign investors. U.S. assistance is needed
"for a strategic fight to save the economy."

----------------
Nuclear Security
----------------

7. (C) Gilani responded emphatically to Rep. McIntrye's question
about nuclear security and stated that he wanted to "dispel any image
of perceived problems." He further elaborated, "We have control of
the resources. These are not controlled by any one person and the
political party process does not have any impact on nuclear
security."

8. (U) Codel Cardin did not clear on this message.
PATTERSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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