Secretary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi participated in the U.S.-Pakistan Dialogue Plenary Session on Friday, October 22, 2010. The ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue represents the commitment of the U.S. and Pakistan to strengthening the bilateral relationship as a broad partnership based on shared democratic values, mutual respect, trust, and interests. This third round of the Dialogue provides an opportunity for nine of the working groups to review progress to date in such critical sectors as communications and public diplomacy, water, energy, health, law enforcement and counter-terrorism, economic development, and women's empowerment, as well as to discuss flood recovery and reconstruction plans.
Secretary Clinton said, "In March, we came together in this Strategic Dialogue to discuss how to help the Pakistani people in the areas that Pakistani people themselves had identified as their most important concerns. We actually thought we would try something different in the history of our relationship, and that is listening to each other and learning from each other. And in July, we announced a series of signature projects in water and electricity. This week, we are going even further with new agreements to cooperate on projects ranging from building dams and water storage systems to expanding national radio coverage.
"In the time since we last met, one event, however, has dominated all of our work together -- the horrible floods of this summer, which covered more than one-fifth of the entire country and affected more than 20 million people. The American people were deeply saddened by the loss of life; the destruction of so many homes, farms, and businesses; and the long-term damage to Pakistan's infrastructure and economy."
The Secretary sent a special message for the people of Pakistan, "We have stood with you, and we will keep standing with you to help you not just cope with the aftermath of the floods, but to get back on the path to prosperity.
"The United States was very proud working with the Pakistani Government and military to help with the rescue operations and to help pick up thousands and thousands of stranded Pakistanis and to deliver millions of pounds of refugee supplies, as well as $390 million in relief and recovery aid. But we know there is so much more work to be done. And we know that in some places, aid has yet to arrive and millions of people are still homeless. But we are working closely with the Government of Pakistan and our international partners, and we will continue to do all we can to help you."
Secretary Clinton spoke about the action plan that each of 13 working groups has now finalized, including plans to immunize children against disease and improve the reliability of electricity supply to the Pakistani people. She said, "These plans are already being put into action. For example, the working group on energy devised a plan to shore up the country's existing energy infrastructure and develop new sources of power. Since we last met, we have ordered the equipment for four power plants. And we will soon complete a public-private partnership that will build a 150-megawatt wind farm in Sindh Province to tap the enormous potential of the winds that blow down the Pakistani coast. And as these projects come on line, we will look to the Pakistani Government to implement systematic reform of their energy sector.
"Working groups have also been involved in collaborating on new scientific projects, in fact, 27 new projects, including research on deadly diseases like hepatitis and tuberculosis with joint funding from both governments. And tomorrow, six water experts from Pakistani provinces will visit New Orleans to study the flood relief and reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. We hope that Pakistan can benefit from the painful lessons that we have learned, and the efforts we have made to rebuild a great city.
"Finally, we are also cooperating on military matters. And I want to say publicly what many of us have said privately: The United States has no stronger partner when it comes to counterterrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both than Pakistan. We recognize and appreciate the sacrifice and service that the men and women, particularly the soldiers of the military in Pakistan, have made in order to restore order and go after those who threaten the very institutions of the state of Pakistan."
In closing, the Secretary said, "As we move ahead, let us be inspired by the people whose lives we have a chance to touch."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.