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USIS Washington 
File

02 February 1999

TRANSCRIPT: TALBOTT SPEECH AT INSTITUTE OF STRATEGIC STUDIES, FEB. 2

(Urges Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) (2480)

Islamabad, Pakistan -- The United States remains convinced that the
nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in May 1998, "constituted a
serious setback to Pakistan's standing in the eyes of the world -- and
to its prospects for economic recovery," says Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott.

"But in the eight months since then, we, the United States, have not
confined ourselves to criticism or exhortation or lamentation. Rather,
we have seen it as our challenge ...," Talbott said February 2 in
remarks at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

The U.S., Talbott said, is working with the Government of Pakistan "to
find a way of managing our disagreement -- and of three immutable,
inescapable facts of life: 1) Pakistan's decision to develop nuclear
weapons and ballistic missiles; 2) the U.S.' commitment to the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, arms control and disarmament; and 3) both
countries' desire to restore the U.S.-Pakistani relationship to one of
unfettered, unambiguous mutual respect and mutual benefit, which
means, in the first instance, lifting sanctions."

"Pakistan can still take concrete, positive steps that will bring it
back into the mainstream of the international community in its
struggle against the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their
delivery means," Talbott said, "First and foremost ... would be
signing and depositing the CTBT. Other such steps would include
helping to bring about an end to the production of fissile material
worldwide, contributing to the tightening of international export
controls and helping to bring about ... a 'strategic restraint
regime.'"

Commenting on the relationship between Pakistan and India, Talbott
said, "The United States supports and encourages the efforts of both
countries to resolve the disputes that divide them, including the
question of Jammu and Kashmir. We have listened carefully to what you
have said on this subject; we understand the centrality of this issue
to you; and we will do everything we can to help."

The Under Secretary, who is in Pakistan, for the eighth round of
Pakistan-U.S. dialogue on south Asian security and non-proliferation
issues, noted that as important as the subject is, "we, in Washington,
feel that a dialogue confined to non-proliferation does not do justice
either to the rich history or to the vast potential of U.S.-Pakistani
relations."

"The quest for such a reconciliation has been the driving force behind
my dialogue with Shamshad Ahmad, just as it was the principal
objective in President Clinton's mind when he met with Prime Minister
Sharif twice last year -- in New York last September at the UN and
again in the White House in December," Talbott said. "In those
meetings, our leaders talked not only about the urgent issue -- how to
achieve a breakthrough in our dialogue -- but also about the "merely
important" one of developing a broad-gauge, multi-dimensional
strategic partnership worthy of our common values and common
interests."

Following is the transcript, provided by USIS Islamabad

(Begin transcript)

Pakistan, the U.S. and the Quest for Common Ground
An address by Strobe Talbott,
Deputy Secretary of State,
The Institute of Strategic Studies
February 2, 1999
Islamabad, Pakistan

Thank you, Ambassador Khan, for that kind introduction, and thanks to
all of you for making my colleagues and me feel so welcome. I will be
brief, in order to leave maximum time for give-and-take.

But first, let me introduce my traveling companions: General Joe
Ralston, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Rick
Inderfurth, our Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia; Gary
Samore, Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National
Security Council staff; Bob Einhorn, the senior non-proliferation
specialist of the State Department; Matt Daley of our South Asia
Bureau; and Karen Mathiasen, Director of the South and Central Asia
office at the Department of Treasury.

The depth and diversity of our team reflects the wide range of issues
that the U.S. and Pakistan are addressing together -- or perhaps I
should say: the wide range of issues that we ought to be addressing
together, if we were tilling together the vast territory of interests
we have in common. Regrettably, however, we are not doing so; much of
our common ground lies fallow.

When my colleagues and I sat down with Foreign Secretary Shamshad
Ahmad and his superb team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier
today for the eighth round of a dialogue we have been conducting since
last June, we concentrated, yet again, on one topic far more than any
other. You all know what that topic is: nuclear weaponry, ballistic
missiles and their saliency to international life on the eve of the
21st century.

Important -- indeed, momentous -- as that subject is, we, in
Washington, feel that a dialogue confined to non-proliferation does
not do justice either to the rich history or to the vast potential of
U.S.-Pakistani relations. I sense that same frustration is felt here
in Islamabad.

Nor did this preoccupation arise for the first time last May. Almost
exactly five years ago, in February 1994, when I became Deputy
Secretary of State, President Clinton asked me to make Pakistan the
first stop on my first trip abroad. At issue then, as now, were a
range of security and non-proliferation issues that dominated our
agenda. I was aware of the danger that the government-to-government
interaction had become excessively one-dimensional. Therefore, even in
addressing the subject of the hour -- which was fissile material and
F-16s -- I tried also to make sure that we kept our eye on the broader
strategic picture: that is, the opportunity for the U.S. and Pakistan
to work together on a wide variety of economic, social, political and
strategic goals in the region -- and beyond.

Just as one example, since I was then, as I am now, dealing with the
former Soviet Union, I hoped to use my visit to Pakistan in 1994 to
share assessments and coordinate diplomacy with regard to several of
the new independent states to your north. On an even broader
geographical scope, I also wanted to talk with my hosts here in
Islamabad about how Pakistan might serve as an anchor of stability in
the region and provide a powerful model of democracy and Islamic
tolerance. As I hope you all know, this is a subject of particular
interest and importance to President Clinton.

But I will confess: those broader subjects did not get the attention
they deserved in my talks here five years ago -- any more than they
got the attention they deserved earlier today. Then, as now, my
Pakistani interlocutors and I did not succeed in overcoming the
gravitational pull of the immediate security and non-proliferation
issues.

We have an adage about life in government back in Washington that
often applies to diplomacy as well: "The urgent tends to drive out the
merely important." For many years, that seems to have been a perverse
motto of U.S.-Pakistani relations. The urgency of non-proliferation
asserted itself more dramatically than ever last May, when India
exploded its weapons beneath the sands of the Pokhran Desert in
Rajasthan.

At President Clinton's behest, I made an emergency trip to Islamabad,
with the assignment of trying to convince Pakistan's leadership that
its interests were best served by not testing. While my arguments
obviously proved unpersuasive, I feel I got a fair hearing; I fully
appreciated -- and faithfully reported -- the tremendous political and
strategic pressure that drove your government to order its own tests
in the Chigai Hills of Baluchistan. While my government disagreed with
yours profoundly on the decision itself, we understood, and continue
to understand, your concerns with a nuclear-capable India and your
desire to ensure that your vital security interests are protected.

The concerns we have expressed since then have prominently included
concerns about Pakistan's own safety and welfare. We were convinced at
the time, and remain convinced now, that the nuclear tests constituted
a serious setback to Pakistan's standing in the eyes of the world --
and to its prospects for economic recovery. But in the eight months
since then, we, the United States, have not confined ourselves to
criticism or exhortation or lamentation. Rather, we have seen it as
our challenge, working with your government, to find a way of managing
our disagreement -- and of three immutable, inescapable facts of life:
1) Pakistan's decision to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic
missiles; 2) the U.S.'s commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,
arms control and disarmament; and 3) both countries' desire to restore
the U.S.-Pakistani relationship to one of unfettered, unambiguous
mutual respect and mutual benefit, which means, in the first instance,
lifting sanctions. The quest for such a reconciliation has been the
driving force behind my dialogue with Shamshad Ahmad, just as it was
the principal objective in President Clinton's mind when he met with
Prime Minister Sharif twice last year -- in New York last September at
the UN and again in the White House in December. In those meetings,
our leaders talked not only about the urgent issue -- how to achieve a
breakthrough in our dialogue -- but also about the "merely important"
one of developing a broad-gauge, multi-dimensional strategic
partnership worthy of our common values and common interests.

In his own approach to this challenge, President Clinton believes that
our desire for a strong, safe, secure, prosperous Pakistan is entirely
consistent with our hope that the world will, in the years ahead, rely
less and less on nuclear weapons -- and that Pakistan will contribute
to movement in that direction. Moreover, we believe that in the short
and medium term, without necessarily abandoning or reversing the
decision it made last year -- however regrettable we, as your friends,
believe that decision to have been -- Pakistan can still take
concrete, positive steps that will bring it back into the mainstream
of the international community in its struggle against the spread of
weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.

First and foremost of such steps would signing and depositing the
CTBT. Other such steps would include helping to bring about an end to
the production of fissile material worldwide, contributing to the
tightening of international export controls and helping to bring about
what my friend Shamshad Ahmad calls a "strategic restraint regime" --
which would mean, both conceptually and operationally, defining
Pakistan's own defense posture in a way that avoids exacerbating
political tensions and military competition on the Subcontinent. By
thus making itself demonstrably part of the solution to the problem of
non-proliferation, Pakistan would make it much easier for the
international community to assist this country in dealing with its
most pressing problems, particularly in the area of international
finance and economic reform. It would also be far easier for the
United States to cooperate with Pakistan in strengthening its
conventional defense capabilities.

It is with this logic in mind that Gen. Ralston and I have conducted
our side of the dialogue. We do so in a spirit of total respect for
Pakistan's sovereignty. We take it as given that the only appropriate
and workable solution to the nuclear issue is one that Pakistan's
leaders, Pakistan's parliament and Pakistan's people clearly see as in
their own best long-term interests.

It is in that same spirit of mutual respect and common interest that
we view the situation next door, in Afghanistan. Events in that
troubled land gave the U.S. and Pakistan an opportunity to work
together not just in prosecuting the Cold War, but also in
accelerating its end. In fact, it could be said that our strategic
joint venture on the far side of the Khyber Pass was, in a sense, the
last battle of the Cold War.

Sadly, today Afghanistan is the locus of one of the first, most severe
and most ominous battles of the Post Cold War World: the battle
against the forces of terrorism, extremism and intolerance. I hope --
all Americans hope -- that the U.S. and Pakistan are as much on the
same side in that new struggle as we were in the old one.

Before going to your questions and comments, there is one more point I
should touch upon. So far, I have concentrated on the four
non-proliferation goals that the U.S. is pursuing with Pakistan. There
is a fifth issue as well, one that also involves your security and
that of the region. This is the question of the relationship between
Pakistan and India.

The United States supports and encourages the efforts of both
countries to resolve the disputes that divide them, including the
question of Jammu and Kashmir. We have listened carefully to what you
have said on this subject; we understand the centrality of this issue
to you; and we will do everything we can to help. I assure you that I
pressed this point during my visit to Delhi over the weekend.

As it happened, I was there at a rather dramatic moment in
Pakistani-Indian relations. I should immediately confess that despite
having lived three years in the United Kingdom, I never figured out
the game of cricket. As a baseball fan, I'm mystified at how a team
can be 27 runs ahead and still lose. Anyway, congratulations to
Pakistan on the athletic outcome -- and congratulations to your Indian
hosts for having put on an impressive display of good-sportsmanship.
We have seen some other positive steps in recent months. When I saw
him yesterday, Prime Minister Vajpayee expressed satisfaction and
cautious optimism regarding his talks with Prime Minister Sharif.
Foreign Secretary Ragunath made similar comments with respect to the
process he has been conducting with my friend Shamshad. And the
Lahore-Delhi bus route is clearly of more than just symbolic value.

Ambassador Khan, I promised to be brief. I have put these thoughts
forward as much as anything to stimulate discussion. Just one
concluding thought, if I might: from the beginning of the current
process, eight rounds and eight months ago, the U.S. position in the
dialogue with Pakistan has reflected an earnest effort to understand
and, to the extent possible, to take account of responsible and
articulate Pakistan's concerns, aspirations and perspectives. In
short, my colleagues and I came here to Islamabad -- and, more
specifically, to the Institute for Strategic Studies -- as much to
listen as to talk -- as much to be advised as to express our own hopes
and concerns. So it is in that spirit, Ambassador Khan, that I turn
the proceedings back over to you for what I'm sure will be a lively
discussion. And I trust we'll talk about the "merely important" as
well as the urgent matters that concern us all.

(End transcript)