Clinton calls on Zardari
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that the democracies of the world can help speed up the process of healing and development by helping democracy in Pakistan and rendering assistance in critical areas of social and economic development.
In a meeting with US delegation, headed by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton which called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr, matters related to bilateral relations, strategic partnership, fight against militancy, mutual cooperation and assistance to Pakistan were also discussed.
Welcoming Ms. Clinton, the President said that her visit at a difficult time is a clear reflection of the deepening relationship between the two countries.
It is a “relationship based on respect for democracy and sovereignty” and is marked by our joint commitment to fight the forces of extremism ad militancy and a long term political and strategic partnership based on mutual interest, common values and shared goals, he added.
The President said that the government of Pakistan People’s Party has a clear vision and strategy.
“We are determined to root out militancy from our soil and purge our country of militants. We are pursuing policies of public-private partnership to promote investment. We are undertaking all possible efforts to meet the energy challenge head on,” President Zardari added.
He said social integration through reforms and poverty alleviation is the top most priority of the government.
The President said that Pakistan needed assistance for stabilizing its economy through investment promotion, overcoming the energy crisis, facilitation in getting market access, capacity building of civilian institutions and securing the needed investment in education and social sector as measures for long term fight against the militant mindset.
He also urged for the speedy delivery of equipment to fight insurgency.
Issues relating to peace in the region were also discussed in the meeting.
The President said that dialogue was the only way forward as the absence of dialogue created doubts and tensions.
US Secretary of State thanked the President for the warm welcome extended to her during her visit.
She said that US is looking for long-term sustained and multidimensional partnership with the democratic government and people of Pakistan.
She said the United States is committed to support the people of Pakistan at this critical hour and would extend all possible help to promote stability, strengthening of democratic institutions and help the people of Pakistan through investment in education and social sector.
Those who attended the meeting included among others Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman A. Malik, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira, Secretary General Salman Faruqui and other senior officials.
US Ambassador in Islamabad Ms. Anne W. Patterson and Mr.Richard C. Holbrooke were also present during the meeting.