"We want a relationship with the people of Pakistan for the long term.”
During his recent trip to Islamabad, Secretary of State John Kerry said the relationship the United States seeks with Pakistan goes beyond a transactional one based only on a few discrete issues. “We want,” he said, “a relationship with the people of Pakistan for the long term.”
After meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz, Secretary Kerry spoke to reporters and congratulated the Pakistani people on their election this spring that saw the first transfer of power in the country’s history from one civilian government to another.
He acknowledged that Pakistan and the United States have experienced differences in the last few years, but said, “We cannot allow events that might divide us in a small way to distract from the common values and the common interests that unite us in big ways:”
“We are working closely with the new government in order to advance a shared vision of the future that is marked by peace, by stability, and by prosperity.”
Mr. Kerry announced that the U.S. and Pakistan have agreed to resume their Strategic Dialogue “in order to foster a deeper, broader and more comprehensive partnership between our countries,” a partnership that covers a broad range of issues, including energy, education, trade and investment, as well as Afghanistan and counterterrorism.
He thanked Pakistan for its assistance in the Afghan reconciliation process, noting that Pakistan and the United States both have an interest in a unified and stable Afghanistan.
Secretary Kerry also acknowledged the great loss to Pakistan of more than 40,000 people who were killed by terrorists over the past decade, and he noted that Pakistan “cannot achieve its full economic potential until it overcomes extremism and extremist threats within its borders.”
On behalf of President Barack Obama, Secretary Kerry extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sharif to meet with Mr. Obama this fall in the United States for a bilateral meeting to continue “our important bilateral conversation at the highest levels.”
“What was important today, said Secretary Kerry, “was that there was a determination by the United States and by Pakistan to move this relationship to the full partnership that it ought to be and to find the ways to deal with…individual issues that have been irritants over the course of the past years…I believe the Prime Minster is serious about doing that. I know President Obama is.”