Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton at the European Commission Berlaymont Offices in Brussels on October 14, 2010. Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton spoke about the critical collaboration between the United States and the European Union. The pair focused on the international community's response and long-term strategy for Pakistan following the devastating floods in August.
Secretary Clinton said, "[W]e have been consulting closely and regularly on a full range of issues that are of concern to both the European Union and the United States, and I am very pleased that tomorrow she and Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi will host a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. It's a group of 26 nations and institutions united behind Pakistan's progress, and they will assess the results of the work that this group has accomplished since last year's summit that was co-chaired by President Obama in New York."
She continued, "This will reinforce the importance of a global response to the crisis in Pakistan. Since the floods began, many countries have come forward with significant financial and in-kind support for the relief effort. Now, as Pakistan shifts from relief to recovery and reconstruction, more help will be needed."
Secretary Clinton expressed her appreciation for the European Commission and its member states' contributions. "I want to acknowledge the great effort that the European Commission and its member states have made in responding to this global crisis. I think all told, they have contributed nearly $450 million toward relief and recovery efforts. And furthermore, last month they announced the decision to extend enhanced market access to Pakistan to give Pakistani businesses a much-needed boost at this critical time."
She also noted U.S. flood relief efforts in Pakistan. "To date, we have provided $388 million in financial support and an additional 75 million in logistical and in-kind support. Up to 30 U.S. helicopters evacuated nearly 23,000 people and delivered more than 16 million pounds of relief supplies.
"We did this first and foremost because responding to humanitarian disasters is a core value of my country, and we believe strongly that in partnership with our European friends we can contribute greatly to not just the immediate relief but the reconstruction, as we did with the earthquake in 2005 in Pakistan, with the tsunami in Southeast Asia, and as we are working together in Haiti.
"We are also helping because Pakistan is our partner. We are deeply involved in an ongoing Strategic Dialogue, and next week I will host the third high-level meeting of the Strategic Dialogue in Washington and review the work that 13 working groups of the United States and Pakistani governments are engaged in.
"We also believe that stability in Pakistan is essential to our shared fight against terrorism and to protect the security of the people of our country and friends and allies like those in Europe. Now, of course, the international community can only do so much. Pakistan itself must take immediate and substantial action to mobilize its own resources, and in particular to reform its economy.
"The most important step that Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms that will expand its tax base. The government must require that the economically affluent and elite in Pakistan support the government and people of Pakistan. We have been very clear on that, and I am pleased that the government is responding. I know how difficult this is, but it is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while the taxpayers of Europe, the United States, and other contributing countries are all chipping in to do our part. The government must also take steps to alleviate the crippling power shortages that stifle economic growth while making life difficult for the Pakistani people."
In closing, the Secretary said, "Now, the work ahead is significant. Later today, Pakistan, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank will provide their assessment for reconstruction. It will be a daunting request. They will need to rebuild and build thousands of schools and health clinics, restore thousands of kilometers of roads, erect dozens of bridges, restore the irrigation system. And as they do so, they can count on our support. They must take the lead and we will be there by their side."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
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