Date: April 5, 2017
Location: Serena Hotel, Islamabad
Remarks as Prepared
Many of you, both Americans and Pakistanis, have traveled long distances to be here, an indication of the value of today’s discussion.
My thanks to Raoof Hasan and his team at the Regional Peace Institute for organizing this event and assembling such an eminent and experienced group. I am sure today’s conference will build on the success of the Wilson Center dialogue in January.
As you all know, America and Pakistan have a rich history of diplomacy, dating back 70 years, when the United States was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan after it achieved independence and was established as an Islamic Republic. Though we have faced some difficult times together, our relationship has always endured.
As we look toward the challenges ahead, we must find where we can work together on shared national interests to benefit the people of both our nations, many of which will be discussed today. These shared interests include fighting terrorism, and we acknowledge Pakistan’s great sacrifices in that regard. These interests also include fostering economic growth, increasing bilateral trade and investment, cooperating on education and social development, especially for women, deepening protection for human rights and rule of law, reinforcing Pakistan’s democratic practices, and building a more stable and prosperous region, including in Afghanistan.
In support of our shared objectives, the United States benefits from its strong partnerships with those in the Pakistani government, businesses community, and civil society.
The Pakistani-American relationship is resilient because of these shared national interests and the connections forged through people-to-people ties, whether through exchange programs, our business communities, or in the open and frank dialogue you will share today.
Pakistan’s success is of great strategic interest to us. The people of Pakistan and America share a fundamental desire for stability and prosperity, and there are areas where we can work together for our mutual benefit and help our countries achieve their fullest potential.
Participants here today will explore with realism the challenges and opportunities in the American-Pakistani relationship. As we all know, the United States and Pakistan are stronger when we work together.
The participants here – whether Pakistani or American – bring many years of expertise and experience to this discussion. May you use the wisdom born of that experience to identify mutually beneficial solutions to the many challenges we face together.