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John D Negroponte Remarks Upon Arrival In Pakistan

John D. Negroponte
Deputy Secretary of State
Karachi, Pakistan
March 27, 2008

Remarks Upon Arrival in Pakistan

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be in the vibrant port city of Karachi, a key trading hub in the global economy.

Today my delegation had the opportunity to meet with Karachi Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal, Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad, and members of the American Business Council. This is my third and final full day in Pakistan, having already spent time in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Landi Kotal. This trip is another of my periodic visits, which afford me the opportunity to meet with Pakistan's government officials, political and military leaders, and representatives of civil society. These types of exchanges help to sustain and deepen the United States-Pakistan relationship.

We all recognize that this is an important time in Pakistan's history, as the new Parliament's leadership takes office and begins to set the legislative agenda, and as the new government starts to take shape. Leaders from across the Pakistani political spectrum are working together in this process. In Islamabad I met with Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gillani, President Pervez Musharraf, National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Pakistan People's Party leader Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nawaz Sharif, and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. In all of my Islamabad meetings I expressed support for the democratic transition under way in Pakistan and reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the Pakistani people.

Many have asked us this week about the prospects for U.S.-Pakistan relations. Our response is that the U.S.-Pakistan partnership remains strong, and that we envision a continued close, productive alliance that benefits both countries. The United States is committed to working with all of Pakistan's leaders on the full spectrum of bilateral issues, from fighting violent extremism to improving educational and economic opportunities.
Yesterday we discussed the security and development aspects of our relationship in Peshawar and Landi Kotal.

We met with Khyber Political Agent Syed Amir Uddin Shah, tribal elders from Khyber Agency, 11th Corps Commander General Masood Aslam, and Northwest Frontier Province Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani. Our delegation also received briefings on U.S. assistance efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas - totaling about 150 million dollars per year - and how our two governments are using these funds to build much-needed roads and schools.

In the months ahead, the United States looks forward to engaging Pakistan's new government on how best to promote economic growth and reduce poverty. The United States will continue to help the Pakistani people build a secure, prosperous, and free society. I am now happy to take a few of your questions. Thank you very much.

ENDS

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