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The United States believes that broad strategic partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan is critically important for the security and prosperity of both countries, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi:
"I reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to an enduring partnership with Pakistan, and to work with the government and the people of Pakistan to help spur sustainable economic development, enhance safety and security, and build on recent progress in the fight against the militants who have spread terror and instability in Pakistan."
To demonstrate U.S. long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan, the U.S. Congress passed a bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 15, authorizing $1.5 billion in economic and social development assistance, each year for the next 5 years. This is a tripling of current non-military aid to Pakistan.
The “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009” is the tangible manifestation of wide support for Pakistan in the U.S., as evidenced by its bipartisan, bicameral, unanimous passage in Congress. The bill places no conditions on the Government of Pakistan, but instead places strict measures on the U.S. executive branch to ensure that the assistance is being spent properly and for the purposes intended to fully benefit the Pakistani people.
Secretary of State Clinton said that the two countries have been "working together in an integrated and unified effort that extends beyond the governments to include cooperation with civil society, with the private sector, and with the. ... Pakistani-American community. ... We’re stepping up our efforts to engage directly with the Pakistani people through educational and cultural exchanges, English language programs, scholarships, and professional linkages."
Standing alongside Secretary of State Clinton, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi said that the civilian assistance offered by the U.S. sends a very positive message, one of a long-term partnership with Pakistan: that the Obama Administration cares for the people of Pakistan; that the U.S. is investing in the education of the Pakistani people -- in their health, in water and sanitation, in democracy. Foreign Minister Qureshi noted that these are values that the Pakistanis also uphold, values that they'd been struggling for, over the past 10 years, before Pakistan had a democratically elected government.
"This is a sincere effort put forth by our Congress with the full support of President Obama and myself to assist the people of Pakistan," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
"There has rarely been such a multiyear commitment by the United States, ... on behalf of a country with whom we feel such a bond of partnership and cooperation."
"We share the same goal,” said Secretary of State Clinton, "a peaceful and prosperous future for our people.”