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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 4, 1998


At the invitation of President Bill Clinton, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, visited Washington on 1-4 December 1998. The Prime Minister was accorded a warm welcome in Washington.

During a cordial and productive meeting and luncheon at the White House on December 2, President Clinton and Prime Minister Sharif stressed the importance of the longstanding friendship and cooperative relations between Pakistan and the United States. They reaffirmed their commitment to further improve bilateral relations and addressed a number of issues of common concern.

The two leaders reviewed progress in the U.S.-Pakistan dialogue on security and nonproliferation. The President welcomed the Prime Minister's statement made at the UN General Assembly regarding adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Pakistan's decision to participate constructively in the upcoming negotiations at Geneva on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, consistent with its legitimate security interests.

The President emphasized the importance the U.S. attaches to further progress on nonproliferation and peace and security in South Asia. The Prime Minister affirmed Pakistan's desire to exercise mutual restraint with India consistent with Pakistan's security interests. Both sides welcomed progress made in the U.S.-Pakistani dialogue on security and nonproliferation. The President noted that further progress would facilitate the restoration of broad-based cooperation between the United States and Pakistan.

The President reaffirmed the United States' strong interest in a stable and prosperous Pakistan and reiterated the U.S. commitment to assist Pakistan through its current economic difficulties. Both leaders endorsed the efforts of the International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks to assist Pakistan. They agreed that an effective, expeditiously approved, and fully implemented IMF program would be a major step to help Pakistan in maintaining sustained economic growth. They acknowledged the importance of reaching a settlement between the Pakistani government and foreign energy investors and expressed hope that such an agreement would help attract fresh foreign investment.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appreciated President Clinton's decision to waive some of the sanctions which had been imposed on Pakistan. He expressed hope that further steps would be taken to remove all remaining sanctions. In this regard, the President emphasized the need for further progress in the ongoing U.S.-Pakistani dialogue on security and nonproliferation. The Prime Minister informed President Clinton about Pakistan's conventional defense requirements. He emphasized the need for an early and fair resolution of the F-16 issue. The President reaffirmed his commitment to such a resolution.

The two leaders reviewed the security situation in South Asia and emphasized the need to resolve all outstanding issues in the interest of peace and stability in the region. Prime Minister Sharif highlighted the centrality of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to peace and security in South Asia and emphasized the need for an early resolution of this dispute in accordance with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. The President emphasized the importance of the continuation of bilateral negotiations between Pakistan and India with a view to addressing the root causes of their disputes, including Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. President Clinton reiterated his support for these negotiations and his expectation that they will bring results beneficial to both Pakistan and India. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed the interest shown by the international community in addressing the Kashmir issue and emphasized his belief that the major powers, especially the United States, need to effectively engage in facilitating a just and lasting solution to the dispute. The President said the United States was willing to lend its assistance to the bilateral dialogue if both sides requested it.

The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their strong opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They expressed their resolve to work closely to combat international terrorism and emphasized the need for prompt and effective action against international terrorists.

The two leaders agreed to work for an immediate end to the conflict in Afghanistan and the restoration of durable peace, stability and normalcy in the country based on the principals of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, as well as a political reconciliation and respect for the human rights of all Afghan citizens, including women and girls and ethnic minorities. In this context, they endorsed the efforts of the United Nations "Six Plus Two" group.

The President welcomed Pakistan's efforts to combat narcotics and offered additional funds for law enforcement training. The Prime Minister appreciated the offer, which would strengthen Pakistan's counternarcotics enforcement agencies and meet common goals, including interdiction, extraditions, and eradication.

The President and the Prime Minister agreed to remain in close contact and to continue efforts to build a strong and more broad-based relationship between the two countries. The Prime Minister reiterated his cordial invitation already extended to President Clinton to visit Pakistan. The President said that he hoped it would be possible to visit Pakistan next year.