June 16, 2009

Kerry, Lugar Call For Swift Passage Of Enhanced Partnership of Pakistan Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Chairman John F. Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released the following statements after the markup of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, also known as the Kerry-Lugar Bill.

Chairman Kerry said, "This is a critical moment for Pakistan, and that's why I'm so glad the Kerry-Lugar Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act was voted out of the Foreign Relations Committee today. This was a strong, bipartisan effort that matches the urgency of the situation in Pakistan with real commitment by the United States.

"A stable, secure, prosperous Pakistan is vital for Pakistan's 170 million citizens and it's vital to America's national security. This bill will help empower Pakistanis fighting to turn their country toward a path of moderation and stability. It offers us a chance to begin a new chapter in our relations based upon accountability and a broad-based, durable commitment to Pakistan and its people.

"I want to thank Senator Lugar for his partnership and my colleagues on the Committee, including Senators Corker, Menendez, Casey, Gillibrand, and DeMint for their input in making this bill even stronger. President Obama, Admiral Mullen, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Holbrooke, and General Petraeus have all called on Congress to pass this bill. In keeping with the President's call for Congress to pass the Kerry-Lugar bill right away, I urge my colleagues to join Senator Lugar and me in sending a strong message of support for the Pakistani people and their democratically-elected leaders by supporting this bill when it reaches the floor."

Ranking Member Senator Dick Lugar said, "This legislation marks an important step toward sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan, while establishing mechanisms to help ensure that funds are spent efficiently. The bill subjects our security assistance to a certification that the Pakistani government is using the money for its intended purpose, namely, to combat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The bill also calls for tangible progress in governance, including an independent judiciary, greater accountability by the central government, respect for human rights, and civilian control of the levers of power, including the military and the intelligence agencies. Finally, it includes multiple reporting requirements, certifications, and audit mechanisms to ensure that the administration is implementing a sound strategy and using funds effectively."

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