Pakistan Pledge Unity to Fight, Defeat Terrorism
Gerry J. Gilmore
States’ and Pakistan’s top leaders renewed their pledge
to work together to defeat global terrorism during a news
in Pakistan’s capital.
George W. Bush and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf spoke
to reporters in Islamabad shortly before the American
chief of state returned
to the United States. Bush, accompanied by First Lady Laura Bush, visited
Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
he and Musharraf "reaffirmed our shared commitment to
a broad and lasting strategic partnership." And, that
partnership "begins with close cooperation in the war
on terror," Bush said.
president also praised Musharraf for joining America in the
war against terrorism that began shortly after the United States
was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. "Pakistan has captured
or killed hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists. Pakistan has lost
brave citizens in this fight," Bush said.
has indeed been targeted by terrorists. A March 2 suicide car
bombing in Karachi killed four people – including American
diplomat David Foy – and injured more than 50 Pakistanis.
India at the time of the Karachi bombing, had vowed he wouldn’t
let the incident deter him from visiting Pakistan. "Terrorists
and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan," Bush
said in India before he departed for Pakistan.
himself has escaped several assassination attempts by terrorists.
At an Islamabad news conference, Musharraf said his country
and the United States "have always had a strategic partnership."
partnership involves trade, investments, education and defense
relationships, Musharraf said, to include "cooperation
in our fight against terrorism and extremism."
also thanked Bush and the United States for providing assistance
to Pakistan in the wake of the deadly earthquake that struck
the Kashmir region on Oct. 8, 2005. "I don’t think without
the assistance of the Chinooks (helicopters) of (the) United
States and the medical teams, the hospitals, that we could
have met the challenges of the relief operation in the earthquake," Musharraf
States and Pakistan have a solid relationship, Bush reiterated.
a message for terrorists worldwide, noting Pakistan and the
United States are "not going to back down in the face
of these killers."
United States and Pakistan will "fight this war and we
will win this war together," Bush said.
The White House
Press Briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
RICE: Okay, well let me just say a couple words about the trip,
and then I’ll take any questions that you might have. This
is a region that, obviously, September 11th changed dramatically
American strategic interests and perspective in the region.
It’s hard to look back and think about Afghanistan from five
years ago, when the Taliban was in power, when in fact the
relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan was one in good
— Pakistan was one of the only countries that actually recognized
the Taliban. If you look back to December of 2001 or June of
2002, you had a situation in which everybody worried about
war between India and Pakistan.
come here now, and there’s been a dramatic change in the relationships
among the countries, but also in the relationships with the
United States. And even though, obviously, September 11th and
the war on terror have very much shaped these relationships
and the strategic nature of them, I think that it’s clear from
all three that they are much more than that.
are broad relationships in Afghanistan — a relationship of
helping to have given rise to a young democracy there, and
now trying to help stabilize that young democracy, trying to
build a country that, after 25 years of civil war, obviously
has a very tough road ahead, to India, which I might note that
the President, also back in 2000 when he was running for office,
noted the importance of the rise of India, and has followed
through on his determination to build a strategic, broad relationship
I know that
there’s a lot of focus on the civil nuclear deal, which is
an important step forward, and I think really does bring India
into the mainstream on non-proliferation policy. And for a
country that has really an excellent relationship on proliferation,
now will give access to the IAEA, to its civilian nuclear industry.
And I know that a lot of the focus was on that, but if you
just looked at the agricultural agreement, harkening back to
the grain revolution of the ’60s, the business roundtable,
the CEOs, the relationship with the business school, if you
look to the extraordinary defense relationship that we now
have with India, where there were exercises here just before
the President arrived, air exercises, that’s obviously a deep
and broad relationship, based on our common democratic and
multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious — we share those
So I think
this really was a breakthrough relationship — trip for India,
but the relationship has been building and moving in that direction
now for some time.
finally here in Pakistan, again, we tend to think of it as
a relationship principally in the war on terror. But the President
just had a really wonderful meeting with some members of civil
society — a woman who’s the head of a bank that is — principally
gives micro loans for women-owned businesses; the head of the
American-Pakistani Business Council, which has raised extraordinary
amounts of money for the earthquake relief; a person here who
is head of a Christian center here, who has been a part of
the fight that President Musharraf mentioned to mainstream
minorities and minority religions into the political process;
a woman member of parliament who talked about her work on women’s
issues and women’s legislation, in particular domestic violence
laws against the adultery and rape as being equal.
So the breadth
of the work that we were doing here was very evident when many
of the people around that table said, I have a USAID grant
to do this, or the U.S. Agriculture Department is working with
us on this. So it was very clear that this, too, is a very
Pakistan has a road ahead of it, in terms of democratic development.
I think President Musharraf spoke to that this afternoon. But
I would just — today, I think you have to look back at where
Pakistan was in September of 2001. This was a country that,
I think, was very, very close to losing completely the grip
on extremism, very close to Talibanization of its own, and
probably just a step away from losing the chance to ever return
to a state of moderation in this region. And I think that you’ve
seen now, over the last several years, when you think about
women’s rights, when you think about minority rights for religious
groups, you’ve seen some changes in a positive direction.
So all in
all, I think it’s been a great trip for the President. I know
he’s enjoyed it very much. He just went out and batted cricket,
which I’m not sure if it was a good hit or not, since I know
nothing about cricket, but it looked good to me.
take your questions.
was a story a while back about how Karzai had hand delivered
some information to Pakistan about some of the extremists down
in the western and southern part. The thought was that he wanted
Pakistan to do more to crack down. Was that discussed today,
the border issues, and can you give us a sense on how each
one of them were handling that issue?
RICE: Sure. We discussed it in Afghanistan, and we discussed
it here. There are efforts underway — the United States has
tried to help the two cooperate more, through trilateral type
of efforts. And I think it’s fair to say that this is not easy.
This is a very hard place. This region hasn’t been controlled
for years, ever. The British didn’t control it; the Pakistanis
have never controlled it. And I think that the Afghans understand
that, but they, like everybody, are suffering from the fact
that this is a region that is producing a lot of violence and
has been an area in which terrorists have operated. I don’t
think there’s anyone who wants more to get them than President
Musharraf. After all, these are folks who tried to kill him
a few times, who are very much a block to his — a hindrance
to his efforts to root out extremism in Pakistan. But it’s
a very hard area.
the more cooperation that you have, and that’s one thing that
we’ve been encouraging, in intelligence, the more that specialized
forces start to be developed that can deal like regions like
this — and I think both in Pakistan and Afghanistan you’re
seeing the development of more specialized forces, the better
that they’re going to do. But this is a very tough region.
Q Did the
President ask him to do anything?
RICE: Oh, the President discussed it in full with him, and
Q What was
the message to him?
RICE: Well, the message was to him, we all have to really work
hard and continue our efforts in this very difficult region
— is there anything more that we can do, is there anything
more that Afghanistan and Pakistan can do together? I mean,
it was more of a kind of problem solving approach.
Q What did
RICE: Well, I’m not going to go into details here, but we’re
working it. Everybody is working it. There are long histories
of suspicion between Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s no secret
to anyone. What’s remarkable is that they now have a relationship
in which President Karzai could come here, could present information
to President Musharraf, could talk to him about it, and they
can agree to work together. But this has been a difficult relationship
for a long time. It’s getting — the good news is that they’re
getting better. That picture that we had last year, of President
Bush, President Karzai and President Musharraf in the same
room, you could not have taken just a few years ago.
Q That having
been said, it is a difficult region, and I’m sure everyone
at the table today acknowledged it. President Musharraf has
a delicate balancing act as he tries to move forward. But does
President Bush feel like U.S. forces, U.S. intelligence has
the ability to act in that border region, and pursue every
tangible lead in a real-time way, or are there obstacles that
need to be dealt with?
RICE: We have a very good, cooperative relationship with the
Pakistanis. It is a politically delicate area, and we coordinate
and we work closely together. I don’t think you’ll find a closer
working relationship than Ambassador Crocker and the military
here and General Abizaid and with the Pakistanis. Everybody
wants to defeat these terrorists in this region.
that I would make about the region is, yes, it’s delicate,
but President Musharraf talked about not just getting the terrorists,
which is obviously extremely important, but also creating conditions
in this region where terrorism won’t continue to breed.
So one thing
that we talked about today is a zone, kind of an opportunity
zone, in the area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which could
give some economic development to this region by tariff-free
export to the United States. So you also have to do some —
this has been an area that’s been economically and politically
isolated for its entire history. The Pakistanis, also, after
the tragedy of the earthquake, have been trying to do redevelopment
projects that bring that region closer to the Pakistani mainstream.
a short-term effort — the Pakistani military is fighting up
there, as I said, nobody has, ever. They’re changing the kinds
of forces that they use up there in order to be more effective.
They’re working very closely with us, and they also are —
we always talk about winning the hearts and minds, well, this
is an effort to reintegrate that region into Pakistan proper.
Q Did you
all discuss the air strikes and whether that can happen again?
I mean, will the United States be allowed to do that again?
RICE: We’ve been through this issue, and I think the Pakistanis
spoke to it at the time.
Q It was
not a topic today?
RICE: We’ve been looking forward since then.
Q Do you
have any take on the latest in Iran, with the —
RICE: I keep reading in the newspapers a breakthrough here,
or a breakthrough there. I don’t think that — when you talk
to the diplomats, I think what you’re getting is that the Iranians
have still not said the words that everybody needs them to
say, which is that, first of all, they’ll suspend the activities
that they restarted in violation of the Paris Agreement, and
secondly, that they understand that a civil nuclear program
for Iran is going to have to be one that does not include enrichment
and reprocessing on Iranian territory. Those are the bottom
lines, and I haven’t heard anything to this point that suggests
the Iranians have accepted those bottom lines.
6th is two days from now. So is there anything we should watch
RICE: Well, one thing is I think March 6th is why you’re seeing
all this Iranian activity. You know, people have offered them
these things before, and they haven’t been as interested as
Q So they’re
hoping for maybe a delay in the referral?
RICE: I think they’re trying to find some way to fade the heat,
to get people to — they’d love to get us back into a situation
where they’re talking, but doing all the things that they’ve
been doing since they broke the Paris Agreement. And I don’t
think anybody is prepared to have them do that.
all along that going to the Security — being in the Security
Council, which is where we are at this point — remember that
the London Agreement was that we are in the Security Council,
but we would not take action until after the board report.
But after the board report, I think the Security Council will
have to have a serious discussion about what the next steps
will be. Nobody has said that we have to rush immediately to
sanctions of some kind. We’ve love to solve this within the
IAEA framework, by having Iran react to the requirements of
the February 4th resolution. But thus far they haven’t shown
any inclination to do that.
Q I have
just one more question on the nuclear. Did he — did Musharraf
today actually say, gee, I’d like to have the same kind of
deal as India, or was that just kind an unspoken —
RICE: You heard it at the press conference, that the Pakistanis
have energy needs, and of course they’ve expressed an interest
in civil nuclear. It’s not the right time for that with Pakistan.
It’s, as the President said, a different history with India.
And I think we can address energy needs on each country’s terms,
on different terms for each country.
Bodman is coming out shortly. He’ll be able to talk about Pakistan’s
energy needs. We had some interesting discussion today at a
lunch about biomass, and about the possibilities of using ethanol.
There are a lot of technological ways to pursue the energy
needs, but civil nuclear just isn’t possible.
Q But was
that a pretty prickly term, thing to go into here, giving their
history of rivalry on this and so many things, that here we’re
agreeing with the Indians to do this, and they argue the same
thing, we have the energy problem?
RICE: One of the things we’ve worked very hard to do, and I
think we’ve mostly succeeded, is to de-hyphenate these relationships.
These are very different places, with different histories,
different sets of problems, different prospects. And so when
you have a particular deal with India that moves in a particular
direction because of India’s long history of protecting nuclear
technology, you have that deal. But with the Pakistanis, you
can have a quite different approach to the energy problem.
And I think
we’ve been effective in taking these relationships on their
own terms, and not assuming that everything we do in Pakistan
is going to be appropriate in India, or that everything we
do in India is going to be appropriate in Pakistan. And that’s
the approach that we’re taking.
been prickly during this visit about anything. It has been
problem solving, warm, cooperative. I think the Pakistanis
appreciate very much that the President has taken time and
been here for an extended period of time. He’s been able not
only to meet with President Musharraf and with the government,
but also with members of Pakistani, you know, got to see the
cricket kids, have a state dinner tonight. It’s been a great
Q Last question,
I was going to follow on something else.
RICE: All right.
just to follow on Deb’s question. Did President Musharraf express
an interest in that sort of deal? I know you said that it wasn’t
discussed, it was talk more broadly, but did he express at
least an interest in that, or want to have discussions to do
RICE: Well, it’s just not — the time isn’t right for those
discussions with Pakistan.
Q So it
RICE: No, it came up, and I think the President made clear
what he made clear in the press conference, that the history
and the situation are just not there on the Pakistani side.
But we want to try and pursue energy development with Pakistan;
we talked about clean coal technology as another direction
to go. But nuclear energy has a particular character, given
both the energy possibilities and the proliferation concerns.
And I think we believe that the agreement with India can meet
those simultaneously. But it’s generous.
Q When the
President was in India, he met with opposition leaders. But
here, he didn’t do so. There’s been a lot of stuff in the press
about the opposition leaders — the round up over the evening
and this morning. Does that send a sort of message to President
Musharraf that the United States agrees with the way he’s handling
democracy, and also does it send that same message to the opponents,
that the United States believes Musharraf is moving toward
RICE: Well, I can tell you that in this meeting that we had,
people expressed what they needed their government to do. This
was a meeting with civil society; they expressed what they
needed their government to do. And they seemed, by the way,
quite unafraid to express that.
is in a different stage of development than India, in terms
of its democratic development. Again, the relationships –or
the countries are not identical. But Pakistan is pointing toward
elections in 2007, and I think our best — the thing that we
can do is to speak faithfully in favor of the need for free
and fair elections, to continue to support Pakistan in the
development of that.
you one example. One of the participants there talked about
the weakness of the party structure in Pakistan, that there
really needs to be the development of centrist, more moderate
parties. And the NDI, which is National Endowment for Democracy,
is doing work here in party development. And so I think that’s
the way that we support Pakistan as it gets ready for those
elections. We’ve also done work here in women’s empowerment,
we’ve done work here with the press. We’ve done lots of elements
of trying to support the democratic enterprise. But, clearly,
the elections in 2007 are going to be very important.
Q Just one
thing, your comment on Iran. You are basically expecting the
referral then to happen?
RICE: The referral has happened. The report has happened. It
is in the Security Council now. The question is, what action
will the Security Council take. And we still have a few days
to see what Iranian behavior would be. But I would expect that
you’d need at least something that tries to give the IAEA the
weight of the Security Council, in order to get Iran to do
something. But I don’t think people are talking about going
directly to sanctions.