The successful Washington visit of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf highlighted the South Asian nation’s strategic importance to the United States, Pakistani Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said in an open letter to Pakistani-Americans.
The meeting with President Bush at Camp David and a top-level lineup of visitors to Gen. Musharraf’s hotel suite underscored the importance of the trip, he said.
A $3 billion economic aid package was “designed to correct perceptions in some quarters in Pakistan that the U.S. is not interested in having a long-term relationship with Pakistan that would extend beyond the immediate war on terror,” Mr. Qazi said.
The package includes an option that would allow Pakistan to write off the remaining portion of the debt owed to the United States. The aid comes on top of $400 million in other U.S. assistance proposed by Mr. Bush for the 2004 fiscal year.
“This package of assistance signifies a new level of cooperation and friendship between the United States and Pakistan,” the ambassador said.
“The U.S. recognizes Pakistan’s indispensable role in the war on global terrorism, the need to translate U.S. good will toward Pakistan into economic opportunities for the average Pakistani and the need for consultations with Pakistan in order to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the South Asia region.”
Mr. Qazi said Gen. Musharraf is the “fist ever South Asian leader” invited to Camp David. The trip to Washington was Gen. Musharraf’s fourth visit since the September 11 attacks and the first since the October elections in Pakistan.
In addition to granting the prestige of the visit to the presidential retreat, Washington officials showed their respect by meeting with Gen. Musharraf in his hotel suite. The visitors included Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and World Bank President James Wolfensohn.
Mr. Qazi said Gen. Musharraf repeatedly called for a better understanding between the West and Islam.
“The president explained that there are two misperceptions,” Mr. Qazi wrote. “On the one hand, many Muslims felt that the U.S. and the West were deliberately targeting Islam. On the other, many in the U.S. and West felt Islam preached violence and intolerance.”
The ambassador said Gen. Musharraf called on the Muslim world to reject the “politics of despair and desperation” and embrace the “politics of moderation and self-emancipation from illiteracy and poverty.”
When she started her job at the British Embassy’s new Scottish office, Arlaine Flynn never expected to see the amount of love Americans of Scottish heritage had for the land of their ancestors.
“I have been amazed at the enthusiasm and energy with which you promote Scotland across the U.S. For such a small nation, Scotland is fortunate indeed to have so many devoted friends,” she said in a letter announcing her departure from the Scottish office.
For the past year and a half, she was the executive assistant to Susan Stewart, the first secretary for Scottish Affairs.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, who will meet with Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Ambassador Richard Haass, the presidential envoy for Northern Ireland. He also holds talks with Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
Former North Korean official Park Gap-dong, who addresses the American Foreign Policy Council’s Asia-Pacific Initiative on an insider’s view of the secretive Stalinist state.
Supachai Panitchpakdi, director general of the World Trade Organization, who holds a noon news conference at the National Press Club to discuss preparation for September trade talks in Cancun, Mexico.
Azizulla Ghazi of the International Crisis Group’s Central Asia project in Kyrgyzstan. He addresses Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about the role of Islam and government in Central Asia.
Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.