us ambassador to pakistan, richard olson
US Ambassador in Pakistan Richard Olson. – Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The US ambassador in Pakistan on Wednesday assured that his country will not repeat mistakes it made in 1989 and will not disengage from the region in 2014—expected withdrawal year for the US and Nato forces from Afghanistan.

Ambassador Richard Olson was delivering a major speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on “the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and Afghanistan, now and beyond the 2014 security transition.”

In his speech, Ambassador Olson said, “even as we work with Pakistan to ensure that 2014 is not a repeat of 1989, we are not myopically focused on December 2014.  Instead, we continue to look over the horizon.  We see a Pakistan and a region that will continue to grow in importance.”

“2014 is not 1989,” he said adding, “The United States recognizes the mistakes of the past, and will not disengage from the region.”

Commenting on mutual cooperation between the two countries, the ambassador said the US was committed to a cooperative and long-term partnership with Pakistan, broader than any one issue and centered on areas of mutual interests.

The US relationship with Pakistan is not shaped solely by US’s commitments and responsibilities in Afghanistan, he added.

Olson said the future of Afghanistan is important to the United States, as it is to Pakistan.  “In fact, this is a source of considerable convergence between Washington and Islamabad.  But it is too simplistic to reduce our nations’ strategic partnership to this narrow construct,” he added.

The ambassador called for the United States and Pakistan to work together with purpose to facilitate a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. “For the sake of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, Pakistan’s full support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is needed now,” he said.

Commenting on the upcoming general elections in the country, the US ambassador said it is a historic and defining moment for Pakistan, when, for the first time, one civilian government transfers power to the next in accordance with the constitution, and reflecting the will of the Pakistani people.

“We do not support any one political party, or any one candidate.  But we will continue to help strengthen the institutions that work to ensure a free and fair process that gives a voice to all Pakistanis,” he said.

Moreover, Ambassador Olson also underscored that US assistance to Pakistan in energy, economic development, education, and health is a tangible sign of the United States’ long-term investment in Pakistan’s future.


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Comments (38) Closed




karim
Jan 31, 2013 02:21pm
We are critical thinking Pakistanis.
shakeel
Jan 31, 2013 10:31am
so was India!!!
shakeel
Jan 31, 2013 10:30am
its 1989 all over again but with a weaker pakistan :(
karim
Jan 30, 2013 05:36pm
US dumping Pakistan in 1989 was actually propaganda by Pakistani establishment whose real gripe was that US aid and weapons stopped flowing after 1989. As long as US keeps paying rent to Pakistani establishment it can continue to do anything it wishes, be it drone strikes,Abbottabad operations, Raymond Davis, meddling in politics or whatever.
Ali Q.
Jan 30, 2013 05:37pm
The honorable Ambassador underestimates his own population's attention deficit disorder(ADD)! By 2020, no one in the US populace would remember or care Afghanistan, just like Vietnam war. I have no doubt the Ambassador might be one of the handful of people in DC by then who might preach engagement in the region, but unfortunately for Af/Pak, US policy is not created by diplomats,but rather the POPULACE of the country that elects its leaders and lawmakers. And THAT is where the ADD comes into play. Its almost a gaurantee that Af/Pak would be back to where it was in US memory around 1995 by year 2020. So Pakistan best be prepared to deal with it!
Cyrus Howell
Jan 30, 2013 05:45pm
This really deserves no comment.
Cyrus Howell
Jan 30, 2013 05:52pm
The Pakistani establishment will continue to do anything it wishes with or without the United States. You know something is wrong when a Canadian has to come to Pakistan to try to get people to stand up for themselves. The people of Pakistan would have been better off if the United States had helped the police and the courts rather than the army.
M. Asghar
Jan 30, 2013 06:36pm
Pakistan has to look after its regional geopolitical interests away from those of USA that are and will remain incompatible, because they aim at different outlets.
Kamal
Jan 30, 2013 06:38pm
Wow...DId you not realize that Pakistan as a country (not establishment) had to bear the burnt of US sudden departure iin many dimensions both political, economical, social as well as dealing with many fueding factions of Afghanistan? For once, learn to defend and stand for your country without bias. Yeah...NO..may be? Are you a Pakistani for real?
Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad
Jan 30, 2013 06:49pm
But the USA will give no guarantee that new mistakes like SALALA will not be committed. Right Mr. Ambassador?
janaan
Jan 30, 2013 07:09pm
what a brainer
HNY2013
Jan 30, 2013 07:17pm
You should define if you need or want US support after 2014. At one point you all all abusive and full of hate towards US and yet u will do not want to cut the umbilical cord. Reminds me of the article Al-Bakistan
HNY2013
Jan 30, 2013 07:20pm
Karim sahib u mean US is or was forcing you to buy the weapons or give aid? You could have said No earlier and you can say NO to it NOW. Lets see
Tojo
Jan 30, 2013 07:37pm
Pakistanis must really start to open their eyes and minds as the world around them changes. It is fool hardy to try and spin anything around any one's words but simply to apply common sense approach and stay the course of being loyal to their country, stop all in-house sectarian fighting, accept the tolerance and respect the glorious and mighty Islam teaches every Muslim to adopt and follow. Do not be cynical or sanctimonious in twisting every event or words.
don
Jan 30, 2013 08:08pm
US can do what they like in Afpak region, these people are hungry and poor.. u can give them weapons they will fight.. u give them education they will learn.. so its upto US how they want to shape this society. Pak by itself has no standing in the world, it has more extremists and terrorists than industries, its economy is going trash, they have never invented a thing yet the politicians think they are the best in the world similar to how germans once felt, only difference is germany had the backing of their industrial revolution, paks empty vessels and sound more.
Aqil Siddiqi
Jan 30, 2013 08:11pm
Because we have been used to begging. A country depends on foreign aid for ever, can not last for ever. It's high time, we should abandon IMF Loans and all the other goodies that we get from other countries.
Caz
Jan 30, 2013 08:16pm
Pakistan is an historical mistake and a colonial curse
Atta ur Rehman
Jan 30, 2013 08:22pm
I think USA has only interest in the region is to combat terrorism. So it will never go from Afghanistan and never leave Pakistan in peace. I personally think USA should not interfere in Pak affairs. If USA wants to help Pakistani people in reality than it should have given yes to civil nuclear reactor approval to Pakistan so that Paksitan electricity shortage is gone. This and let Pak go to Iran for gas and let its people get paid for all the sacrifices it made in war on terror since 2001. Will USA really deliver this??
anony
Jan 30, 2013 08:46pm
I agree
anony
Jan 30, 2013 08:49pm
I will have to agree with Ali. This region will be forgotten rather quickly than anticipated unfortunately. "HNY2013 January 31, 2013 12:17 am You should define if you need or want US support after 2014. At one point you all all abusive and full of hate towards US and yet u will do not want to cut the umbilical cord. Reminds me of the article Al-Bakistan" Your comments don't make sense at all. How can we define the need/want of US support. Do you think anyone in Washington listens to us? The hate towards the US is natural is there are drone attacks with no accountability. Lets see how u feel if there is a drone strike on your house.
anony
Jan 30, 2013 08:51pm
I 100% agree with Kamal's comments. Most of the people posting here are not even Pakistani's.
anony
Jan 30, 2013 08:53pm
You'd be surprised how many non-Pakistani's comment here nowadays.
Different View
Jan 30, 2013 09:41pm
'Friendship' means different things for the US and Pakistan. This is where, I think, is the huge misunderstanding between the two countries. Pakistani policy makers do not completely understand American views. The US deals with hundreds of countries on a daily basis. Friendship doesn't mean free lunch. If we see Pakistan-China relations we will get an idea what Pakistan expects from a friend. Pakistan has given a sort of a blank check to China. Pakistan has agreed it will not protest against Chinese human rights. They have given a lot of control of the country's infrastructure to the Chinese. They buy Chinese made weapons, machinery. In return, Pakistan doesn't have any preferential trade deal with China. Pakistan doesn't have any leverage in this relationship. And China is favoring Pakistan just to keep a check on India. I don't understand how, Pakistan who can't even tolerate different sects of Islam in their country, is closest to the Communist China, with no religion? Pakistan's foreign policy is in a mess.
pathanoo
Jan 30, 2013 10:01pm
Kamal, This is typical Pakistani problem. If any Pakistani dares to tell the truth, he is simply going to be brutalized. Way to go, Kamal.
pathanoo
Jan 30, 2013 10:03pm
Great idea, Aqil. And, then what? Mass starvation, worse chaos if that is possible?
pathanoo
Jan 30, 2013 10:09pm
The biggest and the only mistake US made was not to firmly tell the Pakistanis to stop meddling in Afghanistan or we would stop the aid - military and civilian and then DO IT. That would have cured the majority of the problems we face today, if not all. Pakistan is a country(can we really call it a country? or is it a Territory?) which is hanging on by the skin of it's teeth (and that too) due to American largess.
Positive
Jan 30, 2013 10:40pm
Folks, I believe it would be wise to look into our own souls to see a true picture of state of affairs in our society. There is no point blaming any outside forces for what we are today! we have failed to even protect our strategic or non-strategic interests due to more than one reasons. Those who point a finger any other direction are ignorant and need to improve their vision. The problems that US faces today are due to it's own wrong doings and the many painful issues hounding Pak today are due to our own mistakes! It's high time we open our eyes in reality and correct ourselves before its too late!
Fakir
Jan 30, 2013 10:58pm
US said - "no more mistakes". Dont you think doing nuclear technology business with Pakistan would be yet another dangerous mistake?? Its better for you to be Old ages with mules-horses and donkeys. Do what you speacialize in doing best.. i.e going backwards into time.
Jessica
Jan 30, 2013 11:00pm
very aptly summed up!! good job!
Burki
Jan 30, 2013 11:31pm
its not like even now US is truly engaging Pakistan out of genuine desire to build a sincere friendly relationship, its all transactional basis business right now where US puts out demands and the besharam politicians & spineless wine sipping army bends over to say aye aye master. So .. Mr. Ambassador, lets put away this pretense of having any genuine interest in Pakistan and for Pakistan and call it what it really is.
Pms
Jan 31, 2013 12:49am
I see, Pakistan port build by china and china will take over operation. Looks Pakistan now taking too much help with china. Believe me china will not gene rescues like USA, so be careful. One day china will rule Pakistan. I believe creation of Pakistan was historical mistake. Zips sin are paying Pakistani people..
raja
Jan 31, 2013 01:07am
Absolutely purposeless comments
abbastoronto
Jan 31, 2013 01:20am
Two wrongs do not make 1 right. It was wrong of US to disengage from the area after a successful mission and let Pakistan bear the brunt of the aftermath. It will be wrong of the US to continue to engage in the area after a debacle, and not let Pakistan handle the situation. The first time it was to send the Communists packing home. That was a good objective. The second time it is to contain China. This is a nefarious end. This time American should disengage, but build up Pakistan
SiddiQue
Jan 31, 2013 02:19am
The problems with Pakistan is that a nation built on the basis of religion can not be at peace with any other nation. Hence, US has to engage with it to keep peace in the region.
masmanz
Jan 31, 2013 04:45am
Was 1979 a mistake too? I guess that is the real question.
Sunder Lal Dua
Jan 31, 2013 01:28pm
For India, relationship of USA of Nixon-Kissinger and Pakistan has come up again in new 'avatar' of USA of Obama-Kerry.
Md Imran
Jan 31, 2013 01:58pm
Running out of quotes to steal ?
karim
Jan 31, 2013 05:43am
thats been the case since 1958 till today, with the people of Pakistan paying for the follies of its foolish estsblishment. Perhaps you have not realized this yet.