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Moving U.S.-Pakistan Relations Forward

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, shakes hand with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar following their joint news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. Clinton said Friday that extremists have been able to

"We both recognize that we can achieve more when we work together on a focused agenda."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Ribbani Khar in Washington to discuss ways to move the U.S.-Pakistan relationship forward. “It is no secret,” said Secretary Clinton, “that the past year and a half has been challenging for Pakistan and the United States. And we still have work to do to get our bilateral relationship to the point where we would like it to be, but we both recognize that we can achieve more when we work together on a focused agenda.”

Moving U.S.-Pakistan Relations Forward
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Addressing the protests in Pakistan, many of which turned violent, Secretary Clinton said “There is no justification for violence... We found the video that’s at the core of this series of events offensive, disgusting, reprehensible. But that does not provide justification for violence, and therefore it is important for responsible leaders, indeed responsible people everywhere, to stand up and speak out against violence and particularly against those who would exploit this difficult moment to advance their own extremist ideologies.”

Turning to our strategic goals, the number one shared priority in U.S.-Pakistan relations remains pursuing joint counterterrorism objectives to ensure the security of American and Pakistani citizens alike. “We face a common threat from a common enemy,” said Secretary Clinton, “and we must confront terrorism together.” In September, the U.S. designated the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization in order to use all legal means possible to stop their deadly attacks.

Another shared priority is supporting a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistan’s reopening of NATO supply lines to allow the flow of goods into Afghanistan and call for insurgents to talk with the Afghan Government have been important steps forward.

The U.S. is also interested in working with Pakistan to shift the economic relationship from aid to greater trade and investment. Recently, the United States announced the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, a multi-year project that aims to spur job growth and economic development by expanding access to capital for Pakistan’s small to medium sized companies. Additionally, the United States and Pakistan are working to finalize a bilateral investment treaty.

“There is still much to be done, but the United States remains committed to this important relationship and we are confident,” said Secretary Clinton, “that we can continue to move forward together one step at a time to reach our shared strategic objectives.”