Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Press Releases 2010

Senate Confirmation Hearing Statement By Ambassador-Designate Cameron Munter

Washington - The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing September 23 on the nomination of Ambassador-Designate Cameron Munter to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.  Mr. Munter's nomination now will be submitted to the U.S. Senate for approval.

Following is the statement by Ambassador-Designate Cameron Munter before the Senate Committee:

Mr. Munter:  Senator Casey, Senator Lugar, Senator Kaufman, it's a privilege and an honor to appear before you this morning seeking your consent to my candidacy as America's next ambassador to Pakistan.

I have many to thank for this opportunity:  the president and Secretary Clinton, for their confidence in my abilities; Senator Casey, for making this hearing possible on short notice; Ambassador Holbrooke, for his support and guidance.

Thanks also to my parents, who are here -- Helen-Jeanne and Len Munter, here today from California -- whose wisdom has guided me throughout my life.    My wife, Marilyn, is not here today, but she has been strong and consistent in her love and support for the last three decades of our marriage.

And if I'm confirmed, Marilyn will join me in Islamabad to end more than two years we've spent apart during my recent service in Baghdad, and before that, following the American evacuation of dependents from Belgrade after the attack on the embassy there.

Success will come in Pakistan by building confidence in and working with a strong civilian government.  It will be the result of patient efforts on our part to define and address areas of interest that America and Pakistan share:  our counterinsurgency against violent extremists, Pakistan's ability to achieve its full economic potential, our commitment to social development.

We can only achieve this common success with a strong partner in Pakistan's democratically elected civilian government.  The Enhanced Partnership Act with Pakistan of 2009, which we've referred to as Kerry-Lugar-Berman, has demonstrated that Congress supports this approach, providing generously for our efforts to build a long-term partnership between the people of the United States and Pakistan.

But the flood waters that struck Pakistan have made the challenge more difficult.  As Senator Kerry pointed out after his recent trip, the devastation created by the floods is gut-wrenching; 1,700 Pakistanis have died, 20 million have been affected.

America can be proud.  It was the first and the most in providing -- in responding to this crisis, providing, as you noted, more than $345 million with relief and recovery efforts so far, not to mention $50 million worth of in-kind assistance from the U.S. military, including evacuating more than 15,000 people, delivering more than 7 million pounds of relief supplies.

International partners in the U.S. private sector have also given generously.  We've provided relief, and we'll continue to assist in the longer-term recovery and reconstruction, because it's the right thing to do.  Pakistan needs our support to overcome this terrible tragedy, and the United States will be a source of support in the years to come.

This last key point is key.  We're in this for the long haul, as all of you have emphasized.

Not only will we supply immediate humanitarian help, we will help Pakistani institutions so they will serve Pakistan well in years to come.  We will do all we can to increase transparency of the relief and recovery effort.

The Pakistani government can serve its people in a time of need now, tomorrow and the day after, and we have shown we'll be there to help.  We and the international community cannot do this alone, however.  Pakistan must raise its revenues internally to pay for the needs of its people.

The task ahead requires our firm commitment, and that's why even before the floods struck in July the administration created and began to implement an ambitious agenda under the strategic dialogue of Pakistan and the United States.  The dialogue gets to the heart of our mutual interests by engaging the leadership of our countries in key areas such as health, agriculture and economic reform, which, in the aftermath of the floods, will be priorities for us all.

In addition, the strategic dialogue addresses energy issues, defense and counterterrorism cooperation, nonproliferation, water management and more.  The strategic dialogue is comprehensive and provides the framework for a lasting relationship.

And of course, this partnership has a crucial security element. Pakistan's security is vital for us and for the region.  A secure and stable Pakistan will strengthen security globally.  In 2009, extremists had seized the Swat valley, just a hundred miles from Islamabad.  Now the Pakistani military is actively engaged and more effectively fighting extremists.

This trend must be sustained.  Terrorists are still inflicting a terrible toll on Pakistanis, still undermining our efforts in Afghanistan and still planning attacks on the American people and American cities.  Simply put, more must be done.  We must help Pakistan fight the terrorist elements that threaten its own safety and all of our long-term security.  We'll work closely with our Pakistani friends to ensure the success of democracy and prosperity in neighboring Afghanistan.  We'll work closely with our Pakistani friends to build confidence in our commitment to nonproliferation.

If confirmed, I pledge to lead a unified team of Americans from across the United States government to address difficult security challenges, build a lasting relationship with Pakistani counterparts based on honesty and mutual respect.  We will not always agree with Pakistan on every priority, but we will work through our difference as partners with our eyes on the vision we share of a strong, independent Pakistan at peace with its neighbors and free of terrorism.

The administration and the Congress have just put forth our vision of Pakistan in the years to come:  Pakistan as a friend of democracy, Pakistan as a partner in regional security.  This vision requires hard work, because our policy initiatives must rest on a strong and confident social and economic base in Pakistan.  And that base is not as strong or as confident as either country would like.

We must foster educational and employment opportunities for Pakistan's young people, to explore markets for Pakistan's products and to enhance its self-reliance and prosperity.  Without a strong civil society, economic growth and reform cannot be sustained.  We'll continue our robust assistance to the Pakistani government and to Pakistani NGO sector to strengthen public support for strong democratic institutions.  These institutions defend the rule of law, protect human rights and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.  They empower women.  In short, they make a country great.

We will support these institutions with determination and will do so humbly as well, with respect for the impressive traditions of the -- Pakistan's people, so that the universal values of equality and justice are pursued as the people of Pakistan would have them pursued.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, these are the key elements of the agenda for the United States in Pakistan, our common fight against terrorism, our common commitment to the stability of the region and our common task in building the civil institutions in Pakistan to recover and rebuild from the floods and, by doing so, strengthen those institutions for many years to come.

To do these and many other tasks, the U.S. mission to Pakistan must grow.

And I thank Congress for recognizing the need for greater resources, especially in these tough times.  If confirmed, I pledge to do my utmost to ensure these resources are applied effectively and transparently.

And as you have mentioned, public diplomacy is key.  Let's be honest about this.  We need to overcome historical skepticism among Pakistanis about American motives in South Asia, and this will require ceaseless engagement, energy and outreach.  It will require wisdom and the ability to listen.  And our excellent press office in Islamabad must do even more.  Our cultural exchange programs, including the world's largest Fulbright program, must be constant, confident and, above all, focused on our goals.  Because if we are to say, as I do, that Pakistanis and Americans are natural friends and natural partners, we must work together and we must talk openly.

We are both diverse cultures.  We are both open and generous peoples.  And we are young countries, priding ourselves on the traditions we embody.  This diversity, this generosity and this pride is tested at times like these, as Pakistan and its friend America face great challenges.  But it is from great challenges that even greater friendships can be forged.

Thank you for your comments.  Thank you for your support.  And thank you for your attention to my comments.