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Condoleezza Rice With Pakistan Foreign Minister

Press Availability With Pakistan Foreign Minister Mian Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 12, 2005

FOREIGN MINISTER KASURI: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I would like to thank Secretary Rice for coming here to express condolences and sympathies on behalf of the people of the United States and the President of the United States. And she's the highest-ranking officer of any government to have visited Pakistan after this and we particularly are happy and we acknowledge that.

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I, indeed, have had an opportunity to express directly to President Musharraf and to Prime Minister Aziz the great sympathies of the American people with the people of Pakistan. The events here have touched the American people deeply, we know ourselves how horrible natural disasters can be, but the scale of this one is really incredibly dramatic and difficult.

I came also to express that Pakistan and the United States are great friends, and that is not just friendship between governments but it is friendship between our peoples and the American people will want to respond, and want their government to respond, to Pakistan and the Pakistani people in their hour of need.

We have concentrated right at the beginning here on the immediate needs of rescue and relief, responding to the flash request that came from the Government of Pakistan and therefore made available immediate cash to the government but perhaps more importantly the logistical support -- lift helicopters, lift for supplies -- these are, as I understand it, Mr. Minister, remote areas that are difficult to get to and as the assessment has been being done the President has asked, and told Secretary Rumsfeld who has spoken directly with Pakistani officials, that we will mobilize even greater support for lifts, there will be other Chinooks coming to help with these remote areas because the immediate need is to get to those areas and to get help to those people in the remote areas.

We are also cooperating on the ground, our militaries are working together, ours to support and cooperate with the Pakistani armed forces as they take on these great tasks. We know too that while we will do what we can in the short term, that there will be a tomorrow. And that the tasks of reconstruction and recovery will be quite large, and the United States will want to support along with the international community the people of Pakistan as they try to rebuild as well, and so as we think about the immediate needs we will also start with the Pakistani Government to look to the future.

In talking with Pakistani officials, with the Prime Minister who is, of course, spearheading the relief effort for the Pakistani Government, there are apparently some immediate needs, needs for tents and blankets, needs for water purification, for clearing equipment, and I have said in my discussions with other members of the international community I will emphasize those immediate needs, there's of course always the need for financial assistance but I know that the people of the world, the governments of the world will want to be generous.

The United States has, as many parts of the world have, been through natural disasters. This is one of epic proportions, and I just want the people of Pakistan to know that our thoughts are with you, that we will be with you in your hour of need and that we will be with you not just today, but also tomorrow as you try to rebuild.

Thank you very much.

2005/T15-10

Released on October 12, 2005

ENDS


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