Availability with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan
June 24, 2003
11:49 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good day, Mr. President. Thank you so much for coming. Laura
and I are honored that you and Mrs. Musharraf are joining us here at Camp
President Musharraf is a courageous leader and a friend of the United States.
America has a strong relationship with Pakistan, and we have benefitted from
the industry and the talents of Pakistani Americans.
Today, our two nations are working together closely on common challenges.
Both the United States and Pakistan are threatened by global terror, and
we're determined to defeat it. Pakistan's support was essential in our campaign
against the Taliban.
Since September 11th attacks, Pakistan has apprehended more than 500 al
Qaeda and Taliban terrorists -- thanks to the effective border security measures
and law enforcement cooperation throughout the country, and thanks to the
leadership of President Musharraf.
Today, both our countries are working with the Afghan government to build
a stable democratic Afghanistan with secure border regions that are free
from terror and free from extremism. Pakistan and the United States also
share a determination to bring the security -- the benefits of security and
freedom to the people of Iraq. And I look forward to working with President
Musharraf on this critical goal.
The friendship between the United States and Pakistan is vital to the security
and stability of South Asia. I'm encouraged by the progress President Musharraf
and Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee may have made in easing tensions between
Pakistan and India. I'm hopeful that the two countries will deepen their
engagement on all issues, including Kashmir.
In our meeting we discussed the need to address extremism and cross-border
infiltration, and I assured the President that the United States will do
all we can to promote peace. President Musharraf has set out on an important
mission. He's working to build a modern Pakistan that is tolerant and prosperous.
Achieving this vision of moderation and progress will require movement toward
democracy in Pakistan. The United States currently provides over $31 million
for initiatives in Pakistan, aimed at broadening political participation
and expanding educational opportunities, especially for women and girls.
Greater economic development is also critical to fulfilling the hopes of
the Pakistani people. Since we met last year, the United States has cancelled
$1 billion of debt Pakistan owed our country. And today I'm pleased to announce
that our nations are signing a trade and investment framework agreement,
which creates a formal structure for expanding our economic partnership.
In addition, I will work with the United States Congress on a $3 billion
assistance package to help advance security and economic opportunity for
For more than 50 years, the United States and Pakistan have worked together
for the security and prosperity of South Asia. Today, we reaffirm a friendship
that has brought great benefits to our people.
Mr. President, I'm honored you are here.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am
extremely grateful to President Bush for his gracious invitation to me to
visit the United States. I am particularly honored and touched by his special
gesture in arranging our meeting in Camp David.
This is my fourth visit to the United States, and, as always, the United
States hospitality has been warm and exemplary. This special gesture by the
President to come to Camp David and invite me here on a Tuesday is certainly
a typical example of his warmth and cordiality towards me as a person and
We had wide-ranging and extensive discussions with President Bush in a congenial
and most informal ambiance. These discussions have been highly productive,
reflective of the very close and, indeed, special relationship that Pakistan
today enjoys with the United States.
We have talked not only about our bilateral ties and the immediate situation
prevailing in our region in South Asia, but have also reflected upon and
shared ideas of our common vision of a peaceful and prosperous world. We
have reviewed in depth with President Bush how to strengthen and expand the
Pakistan-U.S. bilateral relationship and to give it greater depth and meaning.
Both sides have reaffirmed that our ties should be made more broad-based
and multifaceted and placed on a long-term and predictable basis. The United
States has accordingly agreed on a multi-year economic and defense related
package for Pakistan. This exemplifies the U.S. commitment to remain involved
with us for a long term. We look forward to diverse programs of cooperation
in the economic, commercial, political and the defense sectors. We also expect
greater people-to-people contacts and close interaction between the parliaments
of the two countries to promote the cause of democracy.
As a result of this commitment, two important agreements will be signed
during my visit to the United States. One relates to the trade and investment
framework agreement, the TIFA, which would help move towards an eventual
free trade agreement, the FTA.
The other relates to an agreement on cooperation in the field of science
and technology, which would provide impetus to growth and development. Our
two countries have many common bonds and linkages. Our relationship is of
long-standing and in the interest of the people of our two countries. We
have cooperated closely in the global fight against terrorism and we stand
determined to rid the world of this menace.
We abhor terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There is no cause
that can be justified or promoted through terrorist acts. And Pakistan is
moving against terrorism in its own national interest.
We also believe that our relations with the United States are a factor of
stability in South Asia. We are grateful to the United States for its constructive
engagement in our region, and for its untiring efforts in diffusing tension
and bringing about a dialogue process between Pakistan and India, aimed at
the resolution of all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammmu
and Kashmir. President Bush has assured me that he personally, and the United
States, would remain firmly engaged in South Asia towards the end of bringing
peace and harmony in the region.
We also reviewed the situation prevailing in Afghanistan. We reiterated
our firm support to the Bonn process, and to the government of President
Karzai, which needs to be strengthened. It is important that the world community
remains engaged in Afghanistan, and lives up to its commitment towards the
reconstruction and development of this devastated country.
We also discussed a number of other important issues, such as the situation
in Iraq, and the Middle East peace process. I have -- I would like to, in
front of this gathering, extend a very warm invitation to the President and
Mrs. Laura Bush, may I say, to visit Pakistan, and do us this honor, and
give us this opportunity of reciprocating the warmth and cordiality that
myself and my wife always receive very well when we visit United States.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT BUSH: We will take two questions from each side, and we'll start
with Tom Raum.
QUESTION: For both Presidents, the war on terror that you're both engaged in, there
are two principles that are still at large. Could you tell us anything about
the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden? Is he back in business in Pakistan? And
what about Saddam Hussein? Is he back in Iraq?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, let me start off. There's more than two principles
at large. There are terrorists who are -- still have designs are destabilizing
the Pakistan government, and are destroying innocent life. You've named two.
There are others around, too. And we're just on the hunt. And we'll find
them. It's a matter of time.
Thanks to President Musharraf's leadership, on the al Qaeda front we've
dismantled the chief operators of al Qaeda. If Osama bin Laden is alive --
and the President can comment on that if he cares to -- but the people reporting
to him, the chief operators, people like Khalid Sheik Mohammed are no longer
a threat to the United States or Pakistan, for that matter.
As I said in my opening remarks, thanks to the leadership of this man and
his government, over 500 al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are detained, they're
no longer a problem. So slowly but surely, we're dismantling the networks.
And we'll continue on the hunt, it doesn't matter how long it takes. It could
take a day or it could take a month, it could take years. It doesn't matter
how long it takes, Mr. President, we will stay on the hunt. And we want to
thank you for your cooperation.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much. All that I would like to say is
that in search of all the al Qaeda operatives who are non-Afghan, non-Pakistani,
pretty easy to identify, we have entered on the Pakistani side an area known
as the FATA, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, areas where the government
never entered for over a century. This is the first time that the Pakistan
army and our civil armed forces have entered this region. And we are in the
process of opening up this region.
Now, if at all any al Qaeda operative is hiding in this region, we are after
them. Now, whether Osama bin Laden is here or across the border, your guess,
sir, will be as good as mine. So I wouldn't like to venture into a guess.
But the possibility of his, maybe, shifting sides on the border is very much
there. But as I said, we are fully inside the areas, which are treacherous
areas. We have an ingress there. And there is no doubt in my mind that the
military, with every passage of time, will be able to locate any al Qaeda
members hiding in this area.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Do you want to call on somebody from your press?
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Yes, indeed. I think I'll take --
QUESTION: Mr. President Bush. It's a very positive statement for bringing peace
into South Asia, which is already nuclearized, but during the 20 years of
honeymoon period of India with Soviet Union, India is the one who launched
nuclear program, and insecure and a smaller Pakistan, in search of its security,
did the same thing. Now, when you are starting a stable relationship with
India, what kind of security concerns you are going to address about the
territorial integrity of Pakistan and security concerns, because Pakistan
is much smaller in the conventional weapons, and that's why they have gone
PRESIDENT BUSH: I think -- we've spent a lot of time on this subject, not
only today, but during previous meetings. I assured President Musharraf that
the United States wants to help toward achieving a peaceful solution. What
you've just described is the reason why there needs to be a peaceful solution
on this issue and other issues. Our role will be to be a -- to aid the process
forward. The decision makers will be the Pakistani government and the Indian
government. Those are the governments that have to decide how to resolve
this issue, which is a -- which has been a thorn in both people's sides.
One thing is for certain, that we all must work together to fight off terrorists
who would like to prevent a peaceful solution. There needs to be a hundred
percent effort on all parties side; every party involved with this issue
must focus on not allowing a few to undermine the hopes of many. And the
President knows that I will remain engaged. I have -- stand by, ready to
help. But the truth of the matter is for there to be a final agreement, it's
going to require leadership from both the Pakistani government and the Indian
QUESTION: May I have one more question?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, you can't. Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned you'd like to see a movement toward democracy
PRESIDENT BUSH: What now?
QUESTION: You mentioned that you would like to see a movement toward democracy in
Pakistan. What would you like to see happen? There's a report that he might
dissolve the parliament there.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, the President and I talked about the reforms that
he's putting in place, and the democracy to which he is committed. One of
the things that he has done that is most impressive for the long-term stability
of Pakistan is to address education reform. A good education system is one
that is going to mean more likely for any country, including ourselves, to
be a freer country, and a more democratic country.
And he is -- he's taking on the issue in a way that is a visionary and strong.
He's dealing with the Madrassahs in a way that is productive and constructive.
He is working on a national curriculum that will focus on basic education.
I'll let him describe his vision. But this country is committed to democracy,
and we're committed to freedom. We're also committed to working with our
partner to fight off the influences of terrorism. And we've had no better
partner in our fight on terror than President Musharraf.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to say a word
on the previous question, also, and before I address your -- answer your
question. Pakistan very clearly, obviously, is concerned, any country is
concerned about its security. Pakistan follows a strategy of minimum deterrence.
We are not into any arms race, but we do maintain forces to ensure this strategy
of minimum deterrence.
And that is what we will keep doing to guard our honor and dignity. We have,
as far as India is concerned, our sovereign equality to guard, vis-a-vis,
India. And this is what we pursue whenever we are talking of any defense
Coming to your question, sir, about democracy, let me assure you it may
sound rather odd that I, being a military man, am talking of democracy. But
let me assure you that I am extremely concerned about introducing sustainable
democracy in Pakistan.
Over the last 50 years, five decades, we have had dysfunctional democracy
in Pakistan. And what I am doing, really, is to introduce sustainable democracy.
Let me assure you, all the constitution changes, all the political restructuring
that we have done is in line with ensuring sustainable democracy in Pakistan.
We will continue with this process, to ensure that democracy is never derailed
in Pakistan. This is my assurance.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Final question, that you'd like to call?
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: -- yes, please.
QUESTION: This is to President Bush. During the Indian Deputy Prime Minister Advani's
visit last week, there were press reports of his claiming to have received
assurances from your administration that Pakistan will not be provided with
F-16s. This contrasts sharply with the positive relationship that Pakistan
currently enjoys with the United States. The Pakistani public sets great
score by the F-16s. So, Mr. President, should the Pakistani public believe
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, the --
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: You are never going to escape this.
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I know. (Laughter.) Let me just say -- first, let me
say, the President is not afraid to bring up the issue of F-16s. He has been
a strong advocate for the sale of F-16s to Pakistan. In the package that
we discussed, the five-year, $3 billion package, half of that money goes
for defense matters, of which the F-16 won't be a part. Nevertheless, we
want to work closely with our friend to make sure that the package meets
the needs of the Pakistan people.
Thank you very much, Mr. President. We're honored you're here.