Benazir Bhutto

Joint Appearance with U.S. President Bill Clinton - April 11, 1995

Benazir Bhutto
April 11, 1995— Washington, DC
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Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: I'd like to begin by thanking the President for his kind words of support and encouragement. Since 1989, my last visit to Washington, both the world and Pak-U.S. relations have undergone far-reaching changes. The post-Cold War era has brought into sharp focus the positive role that Pakistan, as a moderate, democratic, Islamic country of 130 million people, can play, and the fact that it is strategically located at the tri-junction of South Asia, Central Asia and the Gulf -- a region of both political volatility and economic opportunity.

Globally, Pakistan is active in U.N. peacekeeping operations. We are on the forefront of the fight against international terrorism, narcotics, illegal immigration and counterfeit currency. We remain committed to the control and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the delivery systems on a regional, equitable and non-discriminatory basis.

Since 1993, concerted efforts by Pakistan and the United States to broaden the base of bilateral relations have resulted in steady progress. In September 1994, in a symbolic gesture, the United States granted Pakistan about $10 million in support for population planning. This was announced by the Vice President at the Cairo Summit on population planning. This was followed by the presidential mission, led by Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, which resulted in agreement worth $4.6 billion being signed. And, now, during my visit here, we are grateful to the administration and the Cabinet secretaries for having helped us sign $6 billion more of agreements between Pakistan and the United States.

During the Defense Secretary's visit to Pakistan in January 1995, our countries decided to revive the Pakistan-United States Defense Consultative Group. And more recently, we had the First Lady and the First Daughter visit Pakistan, and we had an opportunity to discuss women's issues and children's issues with the First Lady. And we found the First Daughter very knowledgeable. We found Chelsea very knowledgeable on Islamic issues. I'm delighted to learn from the President that Chelsea is studying Islamic history and has also actually read our Holy Book, the Koran Shariah.

I'm delighted to have accepted President Clinton's invitation to Washington. This is the first visit by a Pakistani's Chief Executive in six years. President Clinton and I covered a wide range of subjects, including Kashmir, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Gulf, Pakistan-India relations, nuclear proliferation, U.N. peacekeeping, terrorism and narcotics.

I briefed him about corporate America's interest in Pakistan, which has resulted in the signing of $12 billion worth of MOUs in the last 17 months since our government too office. I urged an early resolution of the core issue of Kashmir, which poses a great threat to peace and security in our region. It has retarded progress on all issues, including nuclear and missile proliferation. A just and durable solution is the need of the hour, based on the wishes of the Kashmiri people, as envisaged in the Security Council resolutions. Pakistan remains committed to engage in a substantive dialogue with India to resolve this dispute, but not in a charade that can be used by our neighbor to mislead the international community. I am happy to note that the United States recognizes Kashmir as disputed territory and maintains that a durable solution can only be based on the will of the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan asked for a reassessment of the Pressler Amendment, which places discriminatory sanctions on Pakistan. In our view, this amendment has been a disincentive for a regional solution to the proliferation issue. Pakistan has requested the President and the administration to resolve the problem of our equipment worth $1.4 billion, which is held up. I am encouraged by my discussions with the President this morning and the understanding that he has shown for Pakistan's position. I welcome the Clinton administration's decision to work with Congress to revise the Pressler Amendment.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Panhwar, Sani H. (ed). 2009. Benazir Bhutto: Selected Speeches 1989-2007. Hyderabad : M.H. Panhwar Trust.