SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon. My pleasure to welcome the minister of interior of Pakistan, Minister Ali Khan. And Pakistan obviously is playing a critical role right now in a number of (inaudible). First of all, in the transition taking place in Afghanistan, we are witnessing an unprecedented level of effort to try to produce cooperation. And thus far, there are some signs of real results with respect to that. And we’re grateful for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to this, for General Raheel’s efforts. They’ve been real.
Secondly, they are committed to going after terrorists, all forms of extremism in Pakistan. And they are making good on that in their initiatives in the western part of the country and elsewhere, and in their cooperation on counterterrorism.
Thirdly, they are committed to democracy – to the evolution of their own democracy, to the strengthening of it, and to trying to be a partner in the region for peace and stability of the region.
So we have a lot of challenges. A lot has happened in the last years that has emboldened some of the extremists. It’s something that Pakistan is deeply concerned about. We’ve had long conversations about it. And I look forward to continuing the cooperative effort on the economy as well as the cooperative effort in counterterrorism and democracy building.
So Mr. Minister, we’re happy to have you here. Thank you for taking part in this important conference.
INTERIOR MINISTER KHAN: Thank you very much. Thank you, Secretary of State Kerry. I think we’re all very happy to be here. As you said, there are many challenges facing us, but there are a number of positive developments which have taken place over the last few weeks and over the last few months which point to a very positive outlook for our relationship and for our joint fight against extremism. I think, as the Secretary has said, relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better, and that is a very, very positive development. I think Afghanistan and Pakistan working in close hands and in close cooperation, it will do wonders for the cooperation in the field of counterterrorism.
Let me also add that the relations between Pakistan and United States have always been good, but there have been ups and downs. But over the last few months, and I think due to the efforts of Secretary Kerry and the Administration, there has been a huge quantum leap in the level of confidence, in the level of trust, and in the level of cooperation. I think what happened a year or a year and a half ago after the Salala incident, and then subsequently the reaction which led to blockade of the Afghan transit supply routes – I think that’s a far cry now, and both the United States and Pakistan are working very, very closely. I think that forebodes very positively for a close cooperation, as the Secretary has said, not only in the area of counterterrorism, but also in the economy and in bringing about sanity and peace in the region.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you very much.
February 19, 2015