U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman Visits Pakistan, September 15, 2012
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman Visits Pakistan
Islamabad, September 15, 2012
Contact: Rian Harris, Spokesperson (0308-555-0591)
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman traveled to Pakistan September 14-15. Ambassador Grossman met with President Zardari, Prime Minister Ashraf, Foreign Minister Khar, Foreign Secretary Jilani, Chief of Army Staff Kayani, Members of Parliament, and other government officials.
During his engagements, Ambassador Grossman said that the United States believes that its relationship with Pakistan should be enduring, strategic, and clearly defined. The United States and Pakistan should work together to identify shared interests and act on them jointly, for the benefit of both nations and the region.
The United States is committed to building on recent achievements, such as the reopening of the NATO supply lines and the meeting of the Safe Passage Working Group held in Islamabad on September 5. The United States looks forward to welcoming Foreign Minister Khar to Washington and President Zardari to New York for the UN General Assembly, and looks forward to several bilateral working groups this fall.
Ambassador Grossman noted that each of these engagements is an opportunity to continue to identify shared interests and to discuss concrete actions the United States and Pakistan can take together on our broad agenda. The United States is committed to continuing work on shared counterterrorism objectives; to increasing market access and economic opportunity for Pakistan; and to supporting civilian democracy and civil society. Ambassador Grossman raised the case of Dr. Shakil Afridi. Finally, it is important that the United States and Pakistan cooperate closely to ensure that Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the region are more secure, stable, and prosperous.
Ambassador Grossman emphasized that while none of those are simple tasks, and will require vision, cooperation, and hard work, the United States is committed to its relationship with Pakistan, to continued engagement, and to building on joint successes.
Ambassador Grossman also addressed the video circulating on the internet that has led to protests in a number of countries. Ambassador Grossman stated very clearly, as Secretary Clinton did, “that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video.
We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. And as you know, we are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims. And we have the greatest respect for people of faith.” “This video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.” But as Secretary Clinton has also said, “there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. The United States condemns the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms, and greatly appreciates that many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out on this issue.”
In difficult times like these, the United States relies on its partnership with the Government and people of Pakistan to ensure that divisive actions by individuals do not harm the safety of Pakistanis and Americans alike.
Finally, Ambassador Grossman offered his condolences for the victims of the tragic fires in Karachi and Lahore this week and expressed appreciation for the condolences offered by the Government of Pakistan for the loss of U.S. diplomats in Libya.