Transcript of the Joint Press Stakeout by Foreign Secretary
Jalil Abbas Jilani and Ambassador Marc Grossman
Statement by Foreign Secretary
Syed Jalil Abbas Jilani
I have the pleasure to
extend a very warm welcome to Ambassador Marc Grossman and his team. This is his
first visit to Pakistan after completion of the Parliamentary review of
Pakistanís foreign policy.
Today we have reviewed a wide range of our bilateral relations and exchanged
useful views on matters of mutual interests. Pakistan desires to reengage with
the US and would be guided by the recommendations of the Parliament. At the core
of the Parliamentary guidelines lie transparency, trust and public ownership in
the bilateral ties which would strengthen our relations on a long term basis.
We have reiterated the importance we accord to our ties with the US. We have on
the whole remained close allies during more than six decades of our relations.
We wish to continue to revalidate our close and cooperative relations in the
areas of mutual interests.
Pakistanís relations with the US are multifaceted. We wish to continue positive
engagement with the US on political, economic and security fronts. We have
re-affirmed our commitment that Pakistan would continue to strive for peace,
security, stability and development in Afghanistan and the region and
internationally which remains our shared objective.
Pakistan is keenly aware of the importance of the partnership approach in
pursuance of our shared goals. We have conveyed to Ambassador Grossman that
Pakistan would continue to build friendly relations with the US on the basis of
mutual respect and mutual interest.
Now the floor is yours.
Ambassador Marc Grossman
Thank you very much, first let me say that I am delighted to be back. May I also
take the opportunity to thank the Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary and the
entire team on the Pakistani side for the hospitality that we have been shown
today. I came here today to build upon the conversation between President Obama,
Prime Minister Gilani last month, as well as in the visits by Gen. Mattis, Gen.
Allen, Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides and USAID Administrator. I also had the
pleasure of meeting President Asif Ali Zardari in Dushanbe last month. Finance
Minister Sheikh has been in Washington. He will, I am sure, convey our
commitment to strengthening this very important relationship.
I first want here to relate the respect the United States Government has for the
recently concluded parliamentary review process, and the seriousness with which
that review process was undertaken. We can take it as something the Americans
can understand very well, the public discussion of the issues of national
interest. We respect the parliamentary process because we respect democracy. The
task now is to begin a conversation about how to move forward, what practical
steps can we take towards, as the Foreign Secretary said, advance relationship
between the United States and Pakistan.
We have come here today to begin that conversation. We start with the
philosophy, the United States believes in a strong, mutually beneficial
partnership as the Foreign Secretary said "based on mutual respect". We respect
Pakistanís sovereignty. We believe that US-Pakistan cooperation can advance the
interest and security of both of our countries. We have said here, perhaps among
us the ability to identify our shared interests and to act on them jointly. In
February in London, when Foreign Minister Khar and Secretary Clinton got
together, Foreign Minister Khar suggested that once the parliament completed its
work then we get together with teams from our two governments to engage on our
broad issues that are critically important to both of us, and I am here with
that team, today. And we are ready to get to work. We want to work to reopen the
ground lines of communication. We want to discuss several outstanding claims for
the coalition support funds. We are ready to get to work on our shared
counterterrorism objectives. We want, as the Foreign Minister and the Foreign
Secretary suggested, to increase market access and economic opportunity and as
the Foreign Secretary just said we want to work together to find ways to
cooperate to make Afghanistan a more secure, stable and peaceful neighbour. We
have a strong interest in the stability and prosperity of Pakistan and the
region, including a prosperous, stable Afghanistan and an end to the safe
heavens and enable the both sides to eliminate their threat of extremism. We
have a common enemy and a common cause. Pakistan, as we always say and we have
been reminded this morning, has suffered terribly in the hands of terrorists and
extremists, United States recognizes that. And that means that there is joint
work to do to defeat violent extremism. As the Secretary Clinton has recently
said that there needs to be a coordinate and considerate effort to combat
extremists of all kinds who ever be a threat. Here I would like to talk for a
moment about the events of November 26 we have offered our deepest regrets for
this tragic incident and I came here today to offer our sincere condolences to
the families of Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. We respect your losses.
And we are committed to take steps to prevent such incidents from happening
again in Pakistan or Afghanistan. We are also looking forward to tomorrowís
trilateral meetings between Pakistan, Afghanistan and United States, the
meetings between the representatives of the governments of Pakistan and
Afghanistan to continue to discuss the important issues related to the Afghan
peace pross and how that process is to be supported by Pakistan and the United
States. I also want to underscore if I could with what the Deputy Secretary
Nides and the USAID Administrator said a couple of weeks ago when they were
here. One of the interests we share in the growth of our economy to create jobs
and prosperity for our citizens, we concentrate our efforts in the fields of
energy, education, health, stabilization and we hope and believe that our
contributions would help Pakistan become an even more prosperous and democratic
state. Our goal is to move to our relationship based on trade and private sector
investment we want to conclude the bilateral investment treaty and if I could
take the opportunity to refer US journalists to the excellent Walls Street
Journal appeared by Finance Minister Sheikh the day before yesterday as he very
clearly focused on the trade opportunities. We recognize Pakistanís challenges
of the past year. We respect the fact that the parliament took the time, made
the efforts to review this relationship. We should have a relationship which is
enduring and strategic and clearly defined. It should be about identifying our
shared interest and acting on them jointly and this relationship should benefit
both our nations and the security and prosperity of Pakistan and United States
and of the region. Thank you very much and now we are looking forward to your
Q & A Session
Though itís hard but let me welcome you here on your visit to Pakistan after
almost six months. Sir you have gone through the parliamentary guide lines
concluded after the parliamentary review process regarding Pak-US relation.
Would you care to elaborate on the points where you have reservations?
Secondly I want to ask about the demand, as been made by Pakistan, for an
unconditional apology from the US President Obama for the Salala incident?
Third question is regarding the dronesí attacks as there is a growing demand in
Pakistan as well as other parts of the region that these drone attacks should be
immediately stopped what decision has been taken in this regard?
A: Ambassador Grossman:
I appreciate you are welcoming me back here as I have said to a number of people
this morning that I missed very much the conservations with the Government
Officials, the Parliamentarians, the civil society so I have missed being back
and I am glad to be back. For your three questions, let me be as clear in my
answers as you were in your questions.
First, I think the job of the United of State of America is to respect the
points parliament has made and I think it would be very useful for me to say
that, as I am not a Pakistani but in my view the Parliament has spoken about
Pakistan being a sovereign country, Pakistan being more successful, Pakistan
playing its proper role in the region and we respect all of these things. Now it
is for us to figure out how we have to move forward.
On your second question, I think the President Obama, sir, has spoken on this
issue extremely elaborately and he did just as I did because I am quoting the
loss, condolences to the families and we regret for what happened and very
importantly conveyed his commitment to Pakistan and Afghanistan that it never
On your question of counterterrorism, as we have been talking for last many
months, I would answer your question by saying that we have jointly, an effort
to make, to counter terrorism and other extremist groups. This is one of the
issues, we talked about this morning that how to deal with this challenge
together and I hope this afternoon with some other working groups we can
continue to do related to the recommendations as how to move forward.
Obviously when the two sides talk
about these issues, the reopening of the NATO supply is one of the aspects, I
wish to ask from Excellency, the Foreign Secretary and you the Ambassador
whether Pakistan has decided to reopen the NATO supply?
A: Foreign Secretary
Jilani: The question of
reopening of NATO supply has been part of our discussions. There is going to be
another exploratory meeting to look into various related issues. Let me make it
clear that the arrangement with regard to the NATO supply which existed in
November would no more be valid. We have to work out new arrangement and the
process will begin according to the instructions by the Cabinet.
As I can just add to that, thank you for the question, obviously no decision has
been taken for the reasons the Foreign Secretary just told. We did not come here
this morning to sit with the Foreign Minister to expect the decision. We did
seek mutually, as the Foreign Secretary said, for the follow-on conversation
this afternoon and probably the both sides can lay out their perspective as how
to move forward and I am greatly benefited by the fact that I have with me some
excellent people who can work on this issue and we are really looking forward as
to how to open these lines of communication back.
Sir both of you have spoken about the ground lines of communication and the
counterterrorism, would you like to tell us specifically that what progress has
been made on the issue of drones and to get back to the normal relationship
between Pakistan and the US?
A: Foreign Secretary
Jilani: well, with
respect to drones, the policy of the government is very very clear. We consider
drones as illegal, counter productive and accordingly unacceptable. This is an
issue which has been a topic of discussion in all our meeting including the one,
this afternoon. This is an issue which has been discussed at the highest levels
of civilian and military leadership. As we have been re-engaged at various
levels we would also like to find a solution which is in accordance with the
recommendations and the spirit of the Parliament, as well as ensures respect for
Pakistanís sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As you pose the question that what progress have been made I would say that we
are here to discuss all these very issues and I have a delegation with me. Let
me tell you that nobody came here this afternoon to meet the Foreign Minister
and Foreign Secretary expecting that we will solve these problems. Our goal was,
and I believe their goal as well, is to get ready now to take the next step. We
had good discussion including the Foreign Minister, Foreign Secretary, my self
and others, to set the basic philosophy and now our team will try to solve these
problems and this is the job given to us.
Sir we have been listening from various spokespersons from the United States at
various levels that the US respects the parliamentary process and the
recommendations but there is a difference in respecting the recommendations and
accepting them. How will this relationship move forward without accepting them
as by doing so you will be bypassing the Parliament which you respect?
A: Ambassador Grossman:
Let me say that we live in a democracy as well. We have a Congress and we are
quite used to this. Parliament of Pakistan has spoken about the recommendations,
we respect that and now working with the government of Pakistan we are trying to
figure out how to implement them. It is not for me as someone who is not a
Pakistani, to give you advice about that. Now the job is to begin a conversation
that how to make them operational and that is what we are doing.
Thank you very much.
Email Sada-e-Watan to a friend!