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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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U.S. to Send More Aid to Pakistan, Clinton Says

WASHINGTON (CN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Pakistani leaders Friday that the State Department will seek $2 billion from Congress to help Pakistan build dams and water storage systems and expand its national radio coverage. "We have stood with you, and we will keep standing with you," she said.

Her remarks came at the close of a three-day conference, co-chaired by Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi, between U.S. and Pakistani leaders. The conference marks the third time the delegations have met this year.

Clinton said the $2 billion, which will be used to fund projects from 2012 to 2016, will complement the $7.5 billion in civilian projects already approved by Congress.

Clinton said the funds reflect U.S. efforts to go "even further" to support Pakistani infrastructure developments. In July, the State Department announced funding for a series of water and electricity projects.

The United States will provide additional relief aid to Pakistan to help the country recover from devastating floods this summer, which covered more than one-fifth of the country and displaced tens of millions of people.

Clinton said aid was crucial for Pakistanis still living in temporary homes who needed to build concrete homes before the onset of winter, when cement trucks will be cut off from remote villages.

"We are accelerating our efforts to help provide cash to people whose houses have been destroyed so they can quickly rebuild," Clinton said.

The United States has already provided $390 million in relief and recovery aid, delivered millions of pounds of refugee supplies, and helped rescue thousands of stranded Pakistanis.

The Secretary of the State also announced joint plans to give immunizations to 90 percent of Pakistani children and to provide wheat and vegetable seed to help 500,000 farmers.

The leaders said the support is key to joint efforts to combat terrorism in the region.

"The United States has no stronger partner when it comes to counterterrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both than Pakistan," Clinton said.

Qureshi reaffirmed Clinton's statement.

"Pakistan will not allow any space to terrorists on its territory," he said.

"There are still tongue-in-cheek comments even in this capital about Pakistan's heart not really being in this fight," he said, calling rumors doubting the strength of the U.S.-Pakistani relationship "dead wrong."

Qureshi said 30,000 civilians and 7,000 law enforcement officers in Pakistan have been killed in the fight against extremists.

"Pakistan and the United States share the goal of defeating terrorism," Qureshi said.

He noted that it is the first time that U.S.-Pakistani relations are driven by a democratically elected Pakistani government and the first time the two sides are making Pakistani citizens "the main beneficiaries of this relationship."

"Collectively we have broken the mold," Qureshi said of the talks. "We have set the ball rolling and it will only gain momentum."

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