U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is committed to building a partnership with Pakistan. Speaking at a news conference Monday in Pakistan Clinton said the U.S. wants to lay what she called a “foundation of assistance” for Pakistan, enabling its people to enjoy the “peace and prosperity” they desire.
Earlier in the day, Clinton had announced new development projects for Pakistan, aimed at improving the country’s water, energy and health sectors. Clinton said water had not originally been among the suggested improvements, but moved to the top of the list after meetings with Pakistani people.
The aid projects are part of a $7.5 billion effort intended to convince Pakistanis that Washington is not only focused on backing Pakistan’s fight against Taliban and al-Qaida militants, but is also dedicated to improving the lives of Pakistanis.
At the news conference, held jointly with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Clinton said the legacy of suspicion the Obama administration inherited will not go away overnight.
Besides the clean water programs, the U.S.-funded development programs will also include completing two hydroelectric dams, as well as renovating or building new medical facilities.
Clinton arrived in Islamabad Sunday, the first stop on her tour of South Asia aimed at refining the goals of the nearly 9-year war in Afghanistan. She met with Pakistan and Afghan commerce ministers who signed a landmark trade agreement that had been heavily promoted by the U.S.
From Pakistan, Clinton will travel to Kabul to attend an international donors conference on Afghanistan Tuesday. Representatives from 70 countries will attend the gathering, which is to focus on steps to reintegrate insurgents into society and crack down on widespread corruption.
U.S. officials hope the conference will highlight the Afghan government’s plan to improve governance and stability. Britain is expected to announce a 40 percent increase in development aid to Afghanistan.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.