Joint press briefing

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani at NATO HQ

  • 04 Jun. 2010 -
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  • Last updated: 04 Jun. 2010 16:18

Joint Press Conference Left to right: Yousuf Raza Gilani (Prime Minister of Pakistan) and NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Carmen Romero, Deputy Spokesperson: Good morning. The Secretary General and Prime Minister Gilani will make short remarks and take a few questions. Secretary General, please.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Secretary General of NATO): Good morning. It is really a great pleasure for me to welcome Prime Minister Gilani and his entire delegation here in Brussels today. It is important that we also had an open discussion with a large parliamentary delegation from Pakistan.

We have just had a very good discussion about a variety of issues, especially on the NATO-Pakistan relationship and security in Afghanistan. We agree that NATO, Pakistan and Afghanistan share a common interest to defeat the terrorism that threatens that region and the entire international community.

And let me, in that regard, express my deep condolences for the recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan in which many innocent civilians lost their lives.

Pakistan has made a great effort and made real sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, especially in recent months. I would like to commend the Prime Minister's personal leadership in improving relations with neighbours. Such improvements is key for stability in the region. It's also vital that Pakistan and Afghanistan work together to tackle a menace that does not respect borders.

We look very much forward to deepening cooperation with the government in Pakistan and to develop the political dialogue we have started.

I have stressed to the Prime Minister and through him to the Pakistani people, NATO will stay in Afghanistan a long as it takes to finish our job. There should be no misunderstanding about that. We count on Pakistan as a partner and we will be a partner to Pakistan as well.

Yousuf Raza Gilani (Prime Minister of Pakistan): Thank you, Secretary General. I'm delighted to be visiting NATO Headquarters and for having very fruitful discussions with the Secretary General. My visit has also provided me with the opportunity to address the North Atlantic Council.

Pakistan and NATO share a common objective of making the regional and global peace possible. The close practical cooperation between NATO and Pakistan, which we have been able to foster in recent years, is crucial for achieving that cherished goal.

It is a matter of satisfaction for us that NATO and Pakistan are continuing with regular contacts and consultations, including at the highest level on all matters of mutual interest. We also appreciate the initiatives of the NATO's Public Diplomacy Division for enhancing cooperation and for a better understanding of perspectives. Pakistan is determined to win against the evil forces of extremism and terrorism. Defeat in this war is not an option for us. Our people and security forces have made tremendous sacrifice in this war, but despite the heavy loss of life our resolve to defeat terrorism has not been weakened.

We appreciate NATO's role in Afghanistan. Pakistan has a deep interest in peak and stability in Afghanistan. The key to stability in Afghanistan requires a genuine Afghan-led reconciliation process. We would like to continue with our cooperation with NATO on every issue of mutual concern, especially the ones relating to war against terror. Thank you very much.

(Many speakers overlap)

Carmen Romero, Deputy Spokesperson : Questions? Geo TV. Please Geo TV.

Q: Khalid Hameed Farooqi, from Geo Television, Pakistan. My question is directed to the Prime Minister first and the Secretary General second. Will Pakistan and NATO, since 2007 we started here dialogue, political dialogue and now we are in establishment situation. Will Pakistan and NATO go beyond tripartite commission in cooperation regarding Afghanistan on the Afghan-Pakistan border?

Yousuf Raza Gilani: In fact, we had a very good meeting and we have welcomed this idea that we have to even not only confine to only terrorism and extremism, we have to look beyond that. And certainly we have to have a closer cooperation with NATO so that we can work together in future as well, not only confined to terrorism, as rightly the Secretary General has mentioned, that there should be more cooperation with the parliamentarians for the exchange of visits, for more dialogue with the parliamentary leaders as well, and for the high level exchange of visits, as there in the past there had been a visit of the President Zardari here, then the Foreign Minister then the Chief of the Army Staff, he also visited here. We have more greater interaction with each other.

Moderator: Dawn Newspaper.

Q: Yes, my name is Malik, I'm from the News. Mr. Secretary General, NATO and Pakistan are doing a lot to get peace in Afghanistan. In the past you expressed some very candid and bold views on President Karzai. Even now the jirga that he has called, there are question marks on that. Do you think there's unanimity of views and convergence of trust of NATO, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Mr. Karzai there, and your own views on him? Do you think we can see some success or is it a long way ahead?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: Firstly, yes I think we share common interests, and we appreciate very much the ongoing cooperation within the tripartite commission.

Secondly, I consider Karzai a good partner. We have a good cooperation with President Karzai and I know that one of his priorities is to further develop and improve the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I spoke with President Karzai a few days ago. I informed him about today's meeting and he asked me to convey his best regards to the Pakistani Prime Minister. So I think we are on the right track.

Moderator: Dawn Newspaper, please. Dawn Newspaper.

(Many speakers overlap)

Q: What cooperation your (inaudible...) NATO will extend to Pakistani civil law enforcement agencies to build their capacity in counterterrorism? Previously there was military-to-military cooperation and in your opinion how militancy in that part of the region can be overcome effectively? Yes.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: First of all, let me stress that I really appreciate the determined efforts by the Pakistani government and the Pakistani military to fight extremism and terrorism.

Secondly, we stand ready to assist Pakistan in capacity-building, if Pakistan so wishes. It has to be a process which is demand-driven, so to speak, developed on the basis of Pakistani wishes. We have already started military-to-military cooperation. We stand ready to further develop that. And I also agree with the Prime Minister that we should expand the political dialogue and personally I attach very strong importance to a dialogue with the parliamentarians, as we have had today.

Carmen Romero, Deputy Spokesperson: Last question to him, yes.

Q: (Inaudible...). My question relates(?) to Secretary General. Mr. Secretary General, the total sacrifices of Pakistan army and Pakistani people are more than the total casualties of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Do you appreciate this fact? If the answer to my question is in the affirmative what steps are being taken to support the Pakistan and Pakistan army?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen: First of all, I do acknowledge the big sacrifice. And once again let me convey my deepest condolences to all bereaved families. I would like to commend, once again, the Pakistani government, the Pakistani military for their fight against terrorism and extremism.

How we can assist will be discussed in coming weeks, months, years. We have discussed today how we can develop the right framework for continuing of our cooperation. As I said before, NATO stands ready to assist, but it's also very much up to Pakistan to express her wishes as to how we can further assist you in the development of the capacity.

Moderator: Thank you very much.

Q: I have more questions.

Moderator: No, we don't have more time.