Joint press talk of President USA, Barack Obama and Prime Minister Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

October 23, 2013

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

 We want to do every thing that we can to help the Prime Minister as he moves forward about the agenda to achieve his vision. We spent a lot of time talking about the economy; I know that the Prime Minister is deeply concerned about making sure that the energy sector inside Pakistan functioning efficiently; and that industry and jobs and greater opportunity exists for all the people of Pakistan and all regions of Pakistan. We discussed how the United States could potentially be helpful on energy projects, on infrastructure projects; I applauded the Prime Minister for some of the reforms, despite we know all of them are not easy; Pakistan’s finances and economy on the more stable footing; the Prime Minister emphasized how trade could be a powerful engine for both these as well; and we are going to exploring ways so that we could deepen trade between our two countries. We talked about security and concerns both of us have about senseless violence, terrorism and extremism; and we agreed that we need to continue to find constructive ways to fight that together; ways that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty; that respects the concerns of both the countries; and I am optimistic that we can continue to make important strides in moving forward; because both the Pakistani people and the American people suffered terribly the terrorism in the past; more Pakistani civilians have been killed obviously in the terrorist attacks than any body; and so I know Prime Minister is very much committed to try to reduce these incidents of terrorism inside Pakistan’s borders and degree to which these activities may be exported to other countries; it is a challenge; it is not easy, and we are committed working together and making sure that rather than this being a source of tension between our two countries, it should be a source of strength, trust working together in a constructive and respectful way; we have discussed Afghanistan; obviously Pakistan is deeply interested in how Afghanistan’s transition as the United States and other coalition forces end their combat role next year; and Afghanistan is fully responsible for its own security and I pledge to fully brief the Prime Minister and his government as we make progress in not only in Afghan elections, but also in terms of a long term strategy for stability in the region; and the Prime Minister and I both agreed that it is in America’s and Pakistan’s interests that Afghanistan is stable and secure; its sovereignty is respected; the Prime Minister had very good meeting with President Karzai and I know that President Karzai very much appreciated the gestures Prime Minister Sharif had made; and I am confident that by working together we can achieve a goal that is good for Afghanistan, but also helps to protect Pakistan over the long term; and we had the opportunity discussing that Prime Minister had the opportunity meeting Prime Minister Singh in New York; I think he is taking a very wise path in exploring how decades of tension between India and Pakistan can be reduced, because as he points out billions of dollars are being spent on an arms race in response to these tensions; and those resources could be much more probably be invested in education, social welfare prograrmme on both sides of border between India and Pakistan; and would be good for the entire sub-continent and good for the world; so I very much appreciate all the work Prime Minister Sharif has done; he has great challenges ahead of him and he understands where Pakistan needs to go and we want to be fully supportive of continued success and democracy inside Pakistan; I shared with him that I had the opportunity back in 1981 when I was a very young man to visit Pakistan, because I had two Pakistani roommates in college, whose mothers taught me how to cool “Daal and Qeema” and other very good Pakistani food; it was a wonderful trip for me and created a great appreciation and great love for Pakistani people.  I know that Pakistani Americans here in United States are enormous contributors to growth and development of United States; so we have a strong people to people connection and my hope is that despite what inevitably would be some tensions between our two countries and occasional  misunderstandings between our two countries that the fundamental goodwill that is shared between Pakistani people and the American people, that will be reflected in our government’s relationships; and we would continue to make progress in the coming years; so Mr. Prime Minister welcome; thank you for nice conversation and thanks for excellent visit.

PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF:

Thank you Mr. President for the precious invitation and the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation; thank you for your support for democracy and good wishes for the people of Pakistan; Ladies and gentlemen of the press I just had a most cordial and comprehensive exchange of views with President Obama on matters of bilateral interests and issues of regional concern: I have conveyed to the President warm and cordial greetings of the people of Pakistan for the friendly people of United States of America; over the past sixty five years our nations have traveled together as friends and allies in defence of freedom and pursuit of international peace and security; besides shared history our two nations are bound by a common commitment to cherished values of democracy; in today’s meeting with the President I apprised of my government’s domestic and foreign policy priorities; we also discussed a common vision to build a robust bilateral cooperation; our broad based and enduring partnership founded on the principles of mutual respect and mutual interest serve us best; at the domestic level my government is focused on four key areas; and I discussed with President; that is economy, energy, education and combating extremism; we both agreed that focus in these core areas is indispensable for creating new opportunities and building hopeful future for our next generation; energy, security is another high priority of my government; I have conveyed our deep appreciation to President Obama for United States support in this sector. Forging a strong great economic partnership with the United States is of paramount importance for us; in this regard we have discussed a number of ideas and look forward for further discussions between our experts in coming weeks and months. 

Pakistan and United States have strong ongoing counter terrorism cooperation; we have agreed to further strengthen this cooperation; I also brought up the issue of Drones in our meeting emphasizing the need for an end these strikes. On the regional plane I apprised President Obama of my efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous neighborhood in particular I highlighted our recent initiatives with regard to Afghanistan; as regards to Afghanistan let there be no doubt about our commitment for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan; this resolve remains unwavering as “in the past we will continued” to engage United States of America in building united stable peaceful and stable Afghanistan. I told President Obama about my sincere commitment to build a cordial and cooperative relationship with India; and our efforts to peacefully resolve all our outstanding issues including Kashmir. Terrorism constitutes a common threat, it is as much a concern to us as it is for India; we need to ally our respective concerns through serious and sincere efforts without indulging into any blame game; I also assured the President that as a responsible nuclear states Pakistan would continue to act with maximum restraint and work towards strengthening strategic security in South Asia; Mr. President admire your statesmanship, your wisdom and your commitment to high values of peace and stability around the world: I thank you once again and looking forward to welcoming you and Mrs. Obama in Pakistan; and “Qeema and Daal” is waiting for you.