Pakistan visit: statements from David Cameron and Nawaz Sharif
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Statements from Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif during the British PM's visit to Pakistan.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the joint press takeout. There will be two statements from Prime Minister of Pakistan and Prime Minister, His Excellency, David Cameron. And there will be no question and answer session. I will request the Prime Minister of Pakistan to make his statement, thank you.
I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister David Cameron and his delegation to Pakistan. He’s the first head of government to visit Pakistan, since historic democratic transition took place in this country. The people of Pakistan, on 11th May national elections, have shown, yet again, their unflinching confidence in democracy and the democratic ideals. Pakistan and the UK have strong historic and cultural affinities. The two countries have shared objectives of peace and stability in our region, and beyond.
We consider United Kingdom as a close friend and genuine development partner. We greatly appreciate the UK’s economic, education and social development assistance. Let me highlight the positive role being played by our over 1 million strong community in the UK. They are a living bridge between our two countries, and are crucial in realising our goal in making Pakistan a vibrant country.
The UK’s one of our leading trading partners. We are committed to enhancing our trade. There are enormous investment opportunities currently existing in Pakistan. I’m sure that British and [inaudible] will take advantage of these mutually beneficial opportunities.
A close friend of Pakistan, Prime Minister Cameron launched the strategic dialogue to further strengthen our bilateral relations. Prime Minister Cameron and I share a strong commitment to education for all. We highly appreciate the UK support for education in Pakistan. This constructive engagement on education will lay the foundations for a better future for our people.
In our meeting today, we discussed the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations. I informed Prime Minister Cameron on my government’s priorities and the objectives we have set for ourselves to improve the lives of ordinary Pakistanis. In this context, I apprise the Prime Minister Cameron about the austerity measures my government is undertaking to ensure fiscal discipline and arrest the challenges of energy shortages, with a view to implementing my government’s economic development agenda.
The United Kingdom has a strong voice in the European Union. We are especially grateful to Prime Minister Cameron for his personal efforts to secure trade concessions for Pakistan in the EU. The lead taken by the UK in campaigning for autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan is invaluable. I have shared with Prime Minister Cameron, our desire to be included in the GSP plus scheme in 2014, and expect the support and cooperation that the UK has always extended to Pakistan. Realisation of the GSP plus will promote our cherished goal of creating gainful employment opportunities for our youth.
And during our talk, we also discussed regional and international issues, and realised that there are many convergences. We are convinced that terrorism is a common threat, and a huge global challenge. Pakistan has suffered the most in terms of human and financial losses. We are therefore resolved to tackle the menace of extremism and terrorism with renewed vigour, and close cooperation with our friends.
We value the efforts and contribution the UK has made in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. We hope that the UK will continue these efforts to seek sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan. We believe that such a process should be inclusive, Afghan owned and Afghan led. I have assured Prime Minister Cameron of our firm resolve to promote the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, to which the 3 million Afghan refugees currently living in Pakistan can return with honour and dignity. Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you all.
Well, thank you Prime Minister for that welcome and for those words. I’m delighted to be the first prime minister to come here to Pakistan, and to congratulate you on your victory in the election, on your new government, and on this important change from one democratic regime to another democratic regime, which I think can be something of a golden moment for Pakistan and for her people. And I congratulate everyone who has helped to make this happen.
I have a simple message in coming here today, which is that in the United Kingdom we care deeply about Pakistan, we care deeply about your people, we care deeply about your future and we care hugely about this relationship between Britain and Pakistan. It is a strong relationship; it’s an important relationship, and it has many facets. Yes, it is an old relationship that dates back for many years but it has, I think, its brightest future ahead of it, because of the many connections between our people, between our businesses and, of course, between our governments.
And that is perhaps the second point to make about this relationship. Yes, it is a relationship between two governments that will work together to solve all of the problems that you mentioned, Prime Minister, but it is also a relationship between our people: the more than a million people of Pakistani origin who live in Britain. And, as you said, they form a bridge between our two countries.
But I think our relationship can now have a third and even stronger element with this important democratic transition. And this is the relationship between two democracies. That is important in our relationship too, and I hope that Pakistan will do everything to make the most of this great opportunity, demonstrating to the world the vibrancy and the health of your democracy.
As you said Prime Minister, we have a packed agenda of issues that we have discussed and we will continue to discuss. We want to see the trade and investment relationship between Britain and Pakistan grow. It is good that Britain is already the second largest investor into Pakistan; it is good that we have set a target for £3 billion by 2015 of our bilateral trade, but I believe there’s an opportunity to go further and to go faster, and I’m committed to do everything I can to help make that happen.
As I’ve said, it’s a relationship between our peoples and it’s a relationship of deep cultural, sporting and other ties that we should develop. I’m delighted to announce today that the British Council will be reopening their premises in Lahore and in Karachi so that Pakistanis can use the British Council, can connect up with British libraries, with British culture, and we can deepen those important parts to our relationship.
But as you said, Prime Minister, it’s also about the battle we must fight together against terrorism: terrorism in your country, terrorism in my country. And, as we’ve discussed, this is a battle that, yes, requires a tough and uncompromising security response, but it is also a battle that has to go so much wider: countering extremism and radicalisation, investing in education, tackling poverty, dealing with all of the issues that can fuel extremism and radicalisation. And, as I’ve said before and I say again, in this battle the friends of Pakistan are friends of Britain; the enemies of Pakistan are enemies of Britain. And we will stand together and conduct this fight against extremism and terrorism together.
I also welcome, Mr Prime Minister, what you’ve said about the vital importance of the relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I profoundly believe that a stable, prosperous, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interests, just as a strong, stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Pakistan is in Afghanistan’s interests. And I know that you and President Karzai will work together towards those ends.
Finally, can I say how much I look forward to working with you over the months and years to come? I believe we can build on what is already a strong relationship with a strong relationship between the two of us. I will never forget the great hospitality that you showed to me when I was leader of the opposition and you were in opposition. And now we are both in government, we have the opportunity to put those things that we discussed then into action as prime ministers of our countries.
So thank you for the welcome today, thank you for the welcome you’ve given to my team. And I look forward to continuing these conversations. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.