In late March, the United States and Pakistan, intent on broadening the relationship and co-operation between the two nations and reaffirming the long-term partnership, held their first strategic Dialogue at the Ministerial level. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi co-chaired the event.
During the Strategic Dialogue, the two countries "took concrete steps to advance work in key areas, including addressing Pakistan’s urgent energy needs and helping rebuild communities damaged by violence," said Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Jacob Lew.
One of the achievements resulting from the meeting is the signing by Deputy Secretary Lew and Pakistan’s Finance Secretary Salman Siddique of a Letter of Intent regarding cooperation in construction of priority roads in Pakistan.
The Letter of Intent pertains to a 40 million dollar project to upgrade two key roads: the Peshawar Ring Road and the road from Kanju to Madyan in Swat, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
"This agreement will allow us to move forward with construction of roads in Pakistan that will help stimulate economic growth and enhance law enforcement access to remote areas, to improve public safety and security," said Deputy Secretary of State Lew at the signing.
On April 27th, at a ceremony in Peshawar, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson inaugurated the first part of the project, the 25 million dollar reconstruction of 25 kilometers of the Peshawar Southern Ring Road.
The plan is to widen and improve the Ring Road from two lanes to three lanes, construct service roads, green belts, center medians, and drainage on both sides.
" To date, the United States and the Government of Pakistan have worked closely together to build nearly a thousand kilometers of roads in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. These road projects are accompanied by over a thousand focused agriculture, water, and electric projects which have a multiplying effect on development," said Deputy Secretary Lew.
"The United States and Pakistan both recognize that infrastructure development produces immediate and visible results for the Pakistani people, whether it's Pakistani farmers who need to get their crops to market or government officials who need to visit with their constituents.
"This [road] is a tangible sign of the long-term partnership between our two nations," he said. "We are pleased to work with the Government of Pakistan to build roads and improve the security and livelihoods of the people of Pakistan."