|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan
Joint Press Available following Signing Ceremony
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Islamabad, Pakistan, November 18, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
FOREIGN MINISTER GOHAR AYUB KHAN: Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be with you.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has just completed her official engagements in Islamabad. She called on the President and the Prime Minister, besides having discussions with me on the entire range of Pakistan-U.S. relations, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, particularly Kashmir and Afghanistan. Our discussions were marked by cordiality and candor. Three agreements on further enhancing Pakistan-U.S. collaboration have just been signed.
After this press conference Secretary Albright will proceed to Peshawar, where she will visit an Afghan refugee camp and a school for Afghan girls.
This was my third meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State. We met in Washington and then in New York in September during the current session of the UN General Assembly. Secretary Albright's visit to Pakistan is in the context of the renewed U.S. focus on South Asia. There have already been a number of high level visits from the United States to Pakistan, and we now look forward to welcoming President Clinton in the first quarter of 1998.
Pakistan and the United States have a long history of cooperation and friendship. At crucial junctures we have stood shoulder to shoulder. Together we have changed the course of history. Perhaps the world today may still have been caught in the chilling grip of the Cold War had it not been for our cooperation in promoting international stability and security and jointly opposing aggression and injustice.
No doubt there have also been ups and downs in Pakistan-U.S. relations, but in spite of these vicissitudes our friendship has endured. We have common perceptions and shared beliefs on the vital issues of our times, such as dedication to democratic values, unabridged respect for human rights and a determination to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
This morning we were able to address all aspects of our relations including those which have impeded progress. We are in complete agreement on the need to give a new direction to our ties based on mutuality of benefit and to establish a new partnership for peace, progress and prosperity. Pakistan and the US are both committed to the free market system and to economic liberalization.
Secretary Albright was briefed on the decisive steps taken by the government to strengthen political and economic stability in the country. Pakistan's potential as an important trade and investment partner of the United States was highlighted. Among the three documents we have signed, the one of special importance relates to the restoration of OPIC facilities to Pakistan.
The question of F-16s, a matter of critical importance to our people, was also discussed. We want an early resolution of the problem.
In the context of peace and security in our region our principled position on the core issue of Kashmir, which is the sole cause of continuing tensions in South Asia, was also explained to Secretary Albright. We are committed to seeking a peaceful solution to this problem through dialogue. We believe that the U.S. can play a role in making this dialogue meaningful and productive.
Pakistan desires undisturbed security and stability in its region. We want South Asia to enjoy the same peace dividends that have brought economic progress and prosperity to other regions. We believe this to be a shared goal of our two countries. We hope that Washington will bend its full efforts for the realization of this goal.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much Mr. Foreign Minister for your hospitality and for what I consider really very full talks.
I am delighted to be here in Pakistan on the first stop of my first visit to South Asia as Secretary of State. On behalf of President Clinton and the United States, I have come to convey a message of friendship and respect, as well as congratulations, on the fiftieth anniversary of Pakistan's independence.
I enjoyed greatly my meetings this morning with President Leghari, Prime Minister Sharif and Foreign Minister Khan, and I am looking forward to going to Peshawar this afternoon.
Just now, I was pleased to join the Foreign Minister in concluding four important bilateral agreements. These include a $10 million USAID program directed at such areas as education, literacy, nutrition and family planning.
They also include a $10 million PL-480 program and a new OPIC agreement to encourage U.S. investment here in Pakistan and to support the Prime Minister's courageous economic reforms.
The United States and Pakistan are friends of long-standing. Our relationship is built on the shared interests and values of the American and Pakistani peoples. Citizens in both countries want to be able to live in peace, provide for their families, build strong communities and enjoy basic freedoms.
These goals provide a rich foundation for cooperation between our two governments, as illustrated today by the agreements we signed and the talks that were held.
For example, during our meetings, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and I discussed ways to make good on the enormous potential for increased trade and investment between our two countries.
We reviewed the threat to regional stability posed by the tragic civil conflict in Afghanistan. And we discussed the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the current situation in the Gulf, a solution which must be based on the resumption of UN inspections and monitoring in Iraq.
We exchanged views on security issues such as nonproliferation, the status of the F-16's and the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which both the United States and Pakistan are now party.
We also talked about the need to strengthen democratic institutions and values, including independent courts, the principle of religious tolerance and respect for human rights, including labor rights.
Finally and most urgently, we discussed how important it is that we remain united in our opposition to terrorists and murderers. Such criminals are present in every society, and they must be opposed by every society. And let me say that the United States appreciates deeply the effort that Pakistan is making to apprehend the murderers of four American citizens and one Pakistani in Karachi last week.
We also appreciate the decision by U.S. companies that have invested in Pakistan, including Union Texas Petroleum, the Bank of America, UNOCAL, and Citibank, to make it possible for Pakistan to join the Globe Program. The Pakistani schools in the pilot project will be linked to counterpart schools in more that 55 countries and will engage in joint environmental projects that will have long term benefits for Pakistan's quality of life.
This demonstration by American business of faith in Pakistan's future is being dedicated to the memory of the Union Texas employees who were killed last week. To me, that sends a very important message. Neither Pakistanis nor Americans can or will be intimidated by terror.
A half century ago, on the day of Pakistan's birth, President Harry Truman wrote to Governor General Jinnah that the "American Government and people anticipate a long history of close and cordial relations with your country."
At the time, some predicted that the newly-independent Pakistan would not survive. And certainly, the road has not always been smooth.
But Pakistan will begin the new century with its commitment to democracy renewed and its people proud and determined. It will do so as a leader in a region of enormous consequence to the course of world affairs. And as Pakistan strives to build prosperity, ensure peace and defend the freedom of its people, it will be able to count on the continuing friendship of the United States.
So, in closing, let me say once again that I appreciate deeply the opportunity to visit Pakistan. I am very grateful for the hospitality of the Foreign Minister and our other hosts. And I look forward to returning with President Clinton next year.
Thank you very much.
PAKISTAN PRESS SPOKESMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, there is just a very short time for a very few questions to be entertained. May I ask Mr Shakil Sheikh from "The News" for the first question?
QUESTION: Secretary Albright, reports emanating from the area suggest that the United States and India are developing strategic relations and, in sharp contrast to that, Pakistan feels bad on it. Whether this is true that the United States and India are developing strategic relations at a time when India is a declared chemical weapons state and its stand is known on the NPT and CTBT issue which hostile to the American position?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me state that we consider it very important to have the best possible relations with both India and Pakistan. Both countries are very important to us. They are important to us individually because of the various aspects to each of the relationships. They are also important to us together because of their sharing of the subcontinent.
I am here on this visit in order to underline the importance that the United States sees in our relationship with Pakistan, a country that we have had a long-standing relationship with and that we would like to develop a twenty-first century relationship with, one based on mutual interests and one that is strongly grounded in democracy, open markets and an excellent relationship across the board.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, the United States and Pakistan have been talking for at least a year about trying to resolve the F-16 issue. Did you bring any new ideas? Is that problem any closer to resolution? And specifically, what did you say to the Pakistanis about your concerns about nuclear proliferation -- not just nuclear, but proliferation in general, including missiles.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Yes. Let me say that the F-16 issue was brought up, as the Foreign Minister and I both said. We are trying to deal with the issue to try to find a buyer for the F-16s and try to make up to the Pakistanis what they paid for them. We have not yet been able to find a buyer, but it is a project that we are working on very hard.
We did generally discuss the issue of non-proliferation. It is, as you know, an issue of high priority for the President and for all of us in terms of dealing generally with the problem of proliferation of missile technology and a variety of other aspects of that and we did discuss the seriousness of that and both countries decided to address the issue as carefully as possible.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, the problem of Jammu and Kashmir has remained unresolved on account of Indian injustice. It is the main cause for tension in South Asia. What role can the U.S. play in bringing peace to the region, in accordance with the UN resolutions, as the United States is enforcing UN resolutions on Iraq, also?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say, that this is a subject that I have grown up with and I hope very much that it is a subject that can be resolved. We believe that is very important for India and Pakistan to have a dialogue over the issue of Jammu/Kashmir and come to some resolution. The role that the United States can play in this is to nudge the process along and to do what we can when requested by the parties. But we would so much like to see this resolved. I have often made the statement that my father was there for the original Commission. He is dead, I am old, and the problem goes on. I would like very much to see it resolved.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary and Mr. Foreign Minister, I was wondering if the two of you in your discussions made any headway on developing some sort of new plan or new ideas for solving the problems in Afghanistan? If you would both answer, I would appreciate it.
FOREIGN MINISTER GOHAR AYUB: We have been touch. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General was here a few weeks back, Mr. Brahimi. He is proposing a meeting of six plus two -- the six immediate neighbors of Afghanistan, which are Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan. And the plus two are the Russian Federation and the United States. Two meetings have been held in New York.
I also attended one meeting that Mr. Brahimi had called in New York during the UN General Assembly session some weeks back in which the Iranian Foreign Minister was there, but the other foreign ministers had left New York by then. The proposals are before us. We would like to see them succeed.
We had proposed in Pakistan that there should be an embargo on arms flow into Afghanistan and the land borders be monitored by the UN and also that the airports should be monitored so that air flights do not come in. We are also in the process of being in contact with the Taliban through Mullah Rabbani and the Prime Minster is also in touch and the Foreign Ministry through the Afghan Cell in the Foreign Ministry with the Northern Alliance. Hopefully, we should be able to get some agreement for a broad-based government in Afghanistan, so that peace is restored. Unfortunately, there's a lot of weapons supply which continues this conflict and Afghanistan bleeds. We feel that once the cutoff is there or arms are reduced, there would be a stalemate situation in which the prospects for talks and a ceasefire would be much brighter.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that the Foreign Minister covered most of the subject, but let me just say that we all very much support the Brahimi formula that he described. We hope that all countries with influence will work to bring the fighting to an end and that it will be possible for there to be a government that includes all the parties. We talked at some length about the problems created for the region by the ongoing struggle in Afghanistan and the great concern that we all have for regional stability.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, since the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the U.S. interest in Afghanistan is decreasing. Currently the Taliban occupy three-fourths of Afghanistan and they enjoy the support of the majority of the Afghan people. Why the United States is not giving recognition to this government and why you are not playing an active role in bringing about peace in Afghanistan?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that I think that the role that we are playing has been described through the formula that the Foreign Minister talked about and let me say that we do not believe that the Taliban is in a position to occupy all of Afghanistan, that there are other parties that need to be recognized and that there needs to be a government that is composed of them. I think it is very clear why we are opposed to the Taliban because of the way, their approach, if I might call it that, to human rights, their despicable treatment of women and children and their general lack of respect for human dignity in a way that is more reminiscent of the past than of the future.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, further to the west, we understand a U-2 flight may have been scheduled over Iraq this morning. Do you have any information on that?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I do not. I think UNSCOM is the one that schedules U-2 flights.
QUESTION: Madam, how do you envisage the technical implementation of the new US policy of greater engagement in South Asia in general, and Pakistan in particular?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that our desire is to make very clear that the United States sees the region as being important to us and that each of the two countries is separately, individually important to us. We see developing relations across the board, where we are dealing with a lot of day-to-day issues. In terms of business, we would like to see a greater commercial relationship. We would like to be able to have a relationship which is based on the fact that we can fight terrorism together and one where we understand the importance of dealing with issues of non-proliferation. Generally, it has been our sense that too much of the time during the Cold War was spent in a zero-sum game as far as the subcontinent was concerned. We now would like to have a relationship with both of these countries based on their great importance to us.
QUESTION: A question for both of you please. Your two countries, together and individually, had a lot to do with the Afghan conflict. If you knew then what you know about what Afghanistan would be like, would there have been anything you would have done differently? Is there any sense of regret about some of the things that were done, the Stingers that were supplied, the training camps that were set up, the blind eye turned to drug smuggling?
FOREIGN MINISTER GOHAR AYUB: I understand what you are saying. As I mentioned, had Pakistan not stood up against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, with the support of the Western democracies and America, possibly, possibly, it is a strong possibility that the Baltic states and even the East European countries may still have had communist regimes. It was the roll back, because it was seen as what happened to America in Vietnam happened to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They had heavy casualties, their forward movement to the warm waters was stemmed, the Stingers came in and played a very decisive role in bringing down Soviet aircraft and at that time Afghan aircraft with pilots trained by the Soviet Union, which forced economic deterioration in the Soviet Union, strains within the armed forces, particularly the army and air force. And we take pride in it because we staked our independence, we staked our territorial integrity and also sovereignty on resisting the Soviets in Afghanistan. They rolled back; they went back; the Soviet Union disintegrated.
But the problems of what happened in Afghanistan, the arms, the drugs, also various people who had come to fight this jihad in Afghanistan -- even from far away in Europe, North America, Africa, Central Asia, Iran and these other areas -- they are still hanging around in Afghanistan, in areas which are not within the constitutional jurisdiction of Pakistan. They do pose a threat. Let's say certain things possibly could have been controlled, like drugs or gun running, because today we have approximately 1.2 million illegal AK-47s unlicensed in Pakistan. And also heavy equipment which we have to mop up. That's where people get these weapons freely, very cheap, easily, for terrorism and for acts of dacoity, law and order, sectarian killings, etc. But we feel very confident in the fact that this so happened. However, we've been left in the lurch. We've been left holding the baby after all that has happened.
Many a time I tell the Eastern Europeans: you hardly murmured when the Soviets came there, because when the Soviet invasion came into Czechoslovakia, Poland or Hungary, they used to pride themselves on their cavalry charges and their industrial might, etc, but they hardly lasted five days or six days before the Soviet army occupied them. In Afghanistan, it went on for twelve years. Look at the people and the bravery of the Afghan people, underdeveloped, backward, illiterate or poor people, they fought the Soviet Union and drove them over the Oxus.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, it is widely believed that the US has downgraded its emphasis on the question of human rights violations in the part of Kashmir controlled by India. Do you have any specific reasons for the same, and why has the US turned a blind eye to the Indians' unguarded missile, nuclear, chemical weapons program and its arms buildup, which is posing a threat to world peace, and will you take up this question with your hosts while you are in New Delhi?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that the United States has been very clear about the importance of human rights everywhere, and also in Kashmir. And I clearly will be discussing the issue of proliferation and the need for non- proliferation when I am in India and making quite clear to them, as I have here, the importance that the United States attaches to making sure that weapons of mass destruction or technologies are not transferred, that this is a common threat to all of us and that it is the responsibility of responsible nations in the world to do everything they can to limit the spread of nuclear weapons technologies and various other aspects of weapons of mass destruction.
That is one reason we are now working so hard to get Saddam Hussain to comply with Security Council resolutions so that we do not see the danger of weapons of mass destruction. We believe in compliance with Security Council resolutions.
QUESTION: There was a 1950 agreement between Pakistan and the U.S. (inaudible)
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I don't understand; I didn't hear.
QUESTION: This is regarding 1950 agreement between Pakistan and the United States, as you know, that none of the accused of both these countries can be tried in a court which makes award of a death sentence. Would you please comment on Kansi trial in a court where he could be paralyzed with a death sentence?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I'm not going to comment on this issue.
[End of Document]
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