Clinton: Rich Pakistanis’ failure to help ‘unacceptable’
October 14, 2010 for AOL Politics Daily
by Josh Lederman
BRUSSELS — The international community can’t bear sole responsibility for victims of the floods that devastated Pakistan this summer, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday, noting that the government of Pakistan must act too – and quickly – to restore electricity, repair infrastructure and stimulate economic growth.
Clinton said Pakistan must step up, even if it means forcing the country’s elite to help the less fortunate.
“It is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people, while the taxpayers of Europe, the United States and other contributing countries all are chipping in to do our part,” Clinton told reporters in Brussels.
Clinton’s admonition came during a diplomatic trip first to the Balkans and then to Brussels, where she met with NATO leaders and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. She spoke Thursday at the European Commission alongside her European counterpart, EU High Representative Lady Ashton.
“A safe, secure, stable Pakistan is manifest in the interest of the European Union, the United States and the international community as a whole,” said Ashton, who will host the Friends of Democratic Pakistan conference Friday in Brussels.
Clinton called Pakistan a U.S. partner and pointed to $388 million the United States has contributed to aid recovery, and the 23,000 people evacuated by U.S. helicopters.
In addition, the European contribution totals nearly $450 million in U.S. dollars, according to Clinton. Also, in September, EU leaders gave Pakistan preferential market access, making it easier for Pakistan to sell textiles on the European market.
Also Thursday, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank released an assessment estimating the floods caused $9.7 billion in damage, affecting agriculture and livestock the most.
Clinton said she will host a third, high-level strategic meeting in Washington next week.
The task of rebuilding everything from bridges to schools will be daunting, Clinton said, but Pakistan can count on U.S. support. She urged economic reforms to expand Pakistan’s tax base so it can mobilize its own resources.
Clinton didn’t address the unmanned U.S. drone attacks being carried out in Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, where American troops are waging war. The drone campaign has substantially intensified under President Obama, and is a major source of contention between the two nations.
The latest suspected drone attack came Sunday in northwest Pakistan, when eight people were reportedly killed.