March 04, 2006
Speaking at a state dinner in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 4, Bush thanked Pakistan's president for his hospitality and said, "Pakistan's efforts to enhance peace and security have earned the respect and the admiration of the American people."
Pakistan was the final stop of President Bush's three-country tour of South Asia. He also visited Afghanistan and India.
President Musharraf, speaking before Bush, outlined a positive vision for the future of Pakistan and the U.S.-Pakistani alliance.
"Pakistan and the United States are allies in combating terrorism, the new pervasive threat to the world," he said, adding that both nations "reject hate and prejudice that have recently targeted Islam and Muslim societies."
Briefly recapping the relationship between Pakistan and the United States over the past six decades, Musharraf said that the nations now have "forged an enduring partnership" based on shared principles, mutual respect and a common interest in a secure, peaceful world.
Specifically, Pakistan is determined to "close the unfortunate chapter of conflict and tension in our region" by actively engaging India to resolve all outstanding disputes, especially that involving Kashmir. He called on the world community, and particularly the United States, to assist in that process by encouraging all sides to work toward that goal.
Regarding economic development, Musharraf was optimistic about his country's future: "Pakistan has the potential to become the hub of economic activity and a catalyst for progress of a larger neighborhood. We are determined to pursue this destined role and are implementing plans for the development of infrastructure, communication and energy corridors. The strategic partnership that we have affirmed today will contribute towards our success in realizing our common aspirations for peace and development in this critically important region of the world."
President Bush concurred, affirming that "Americans will support the Pakistani people as they take further steps toward democracy, expand educational opportunities for boys and girls, and create prosperity through innovation and global trade.
"Pakistan has a bright future because of its proud people, and because of the hard work of a strong leader," Bush concluded.
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