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Secretary Rice Promises More U.S. Aid for Pakistan

Says U.S., Pakistani militaries cooperating to bring aid to remote areas

Posted: October 12, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shakes hands with a member of the Pakistani military during a visit to the Pakistan Air Force Base in Chaklala, Pakistan, Wednesday, October 12. Rice detoured from a trip to Central Asia to visit Pakistani leaders and American troops who are delivering supplies and providing transport to the injured in the area affected by the earthquake. (© AP/WWP)

The United States is providing immediate relief for Pakistan's earthquake victims and will help meet the country's long-term reconstruction needs, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"I just want the people of Pakistan to know that our thoughts are with you, that we will be with you in your hour of need and that we will be with you not just today, but also tomorrow as you try to rebuild," Rice told reporters in Islamabad, Pakistan, October 12 at a press availability with Pakistani Foreign Minister Miam Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri.

Rice said that the United States is providing cash and logistical support, primarily in the form of helicopters, to deliver supplies to victims in the remote region of Kashmir where the earthquake struck on October 8. (See related article.)

U.S. and Pakistani militaries are cooperating to deal with the great tasks presented by the earthquake, the secretary said.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Rice said that the $50 million the United States made available in immediate aid was merely an initial emergency response and that more aid would be forthcoming.

“I'm quite certain that as the needs emerge that the United States is going to need to do more, and I will go and have discussions with the Pakistanis about what other kinds of assistances is going to be needed,” she said.

For additional information on relief efforts, see U.S. Response to Earthquake in South Asia.

Following is the transcript of Rice's comments in Islamabad October 12:

Office of the Spokesman
October 12, 2005


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
With Pakistan Foreign Minister Mian Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri

October 12, 2005
Islamabad, Pakistan

FOREIGN MINISTER KASURI: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I would like to thank Secretary Rice for coming here to express condolences and sympathies on behalf of the people of the United States and the President of the United States. And she's the highest-ranking officer of any government to have visited Pakistan after this and we particularly are happy and we acknowledge that.

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I, indeed, have had an opportunity to express directly to President Musharraf and to Prime Minister Aziz the great sympathies of the American people with the people of Pakistan. The events here have touched the American people deeply, we know ourselves how horrible natural disasters can be, but the scale of this one is really incredibly dramatic and difficult.

I came also to express that Pakistan and the United States are great friends, and that is not just friendship between governments but it is friendship between our peoples and the American people will want to respond, and want their government to respond, to Pakistan and the Pakistani people in their hour of need.

We have concentrated right at the beginning here on the immediate needs of rescue and relief, responding to the flash request that came from the Government of Pakistan and therefore made available immediate cash to the government but perhaps more importantly the logistical support -- lift helicopters, lift for supplies -- these are, as I understand it, Mr. Minister, remote areas that are difficult to get to and as the assessment has been being done the President has asked, and told Secretary Rumsfeld who has spoken directly with Pakistani officials, that we will mobilize even greater support for lifts, there will be other Chinooks coming to help with these remote areas because the immediate need is to get to those areas and to get help to those people in the remote areas.

We are also cooperating on the ground, our militaries are working together, ours to support and cooperate with the Pakistani armed forces as they take on these great tasks. We know too that while we will do what we can in the short term, that there will be a tomorrow. And that the tasks of reconstruction and recovery will be quite large, and the United States will want to support along with the international community the people of Pakistan as they try to rebuild as well, and so as we think about the immediate needs we will also start with the Pakistani Government to look to the future.

In talking with Pakistani officials, with the Prime Minister who is, of course, spearheading the relief effort for the Pakistani Government, there are apparently some immediate needs, needs for tents and blankets, needs for water purification, for clearing equipment, and I have said in my discussions with other members of the international community I will emphasize those immediate needs, there's of course always the need for financial assistance but I know that the people of the world, the governments of the world will want to be generous.

The United States has, as many parts of the world have, been through natural disasters. This is one of epic proportions, and I just want the people of Pakistan to know that our thoughts are with you, that we will be with you in your hour of need and that we will be with you not just today, but also tomorrow as you try to rebuild.

Thank you very much.




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