the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan before Bilateral Meeting

Coex Center
Seoul, Republic of Korea


5:16 P.M. KST


PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to meet once again with Prime Minister Gilani and his delegation. 

Obviously, the United States and Pakistan have a host of mutual interests.  We’re both interested in combating terrorism, both internationally and in our respective countries. We both are interested in economic development.  We’re both interested in nuclear security, as evidenced by our presence here today.  And we have been working together because we’re both interested in a stable and secure Afghanistan and a stable and secure region that will benefit not only Pakistan but also the entire world.

I want to express my appreciation to Prime Minister Gilani for the work that he’s done in trying to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.  There have been times -- I think we should be frank -- over the last several months where those relations have experienced strains.  But I welcome the fact that the parliament in Pakistan is reviewing, after some extensive study, the nature of this relationship.  I think that it’s important for us to get it right.  I think it’s important for us to have candid dialogue to work through these issues in a constructive fashion and a transparent fashion. 

And my expectation is, is that as a consequence of the review that’s taking place in Pakistan as well as the work that we’re doing on the American side, that we can achieve the kind of balanced approach that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty, but also it respects our concerns with respect to our national security and our needs to battle terrorists who have targeted us in the past.

I also want to express to the Prime Minister my appreciation for his recognition that it’s in both of our interests and indeed in all of our interests to see an Afghan-led reconciliation process that needs to take place.  And I appreciate the Prime Minister’s statement in that regard. 

And finally, I want to express my thanks for his participation in this conference, because I think that we all agree that given the threats that have been directed in Pakistan, the terrorism that has taken place on their own soil, and obviously our experiences with terrorism, we can’t afford to have non-state actors, terrorists, get their hands on nuclear weapons that could end up destroying our cities or harming our citizens. 
So, Mr. Prime Minister, of course, I very much appreciate you being here.  And, please.

PRIME MINISTER GILANI:  Thank you so much.  First of all, I want to thank Mr. President for sparing this opportunity to meet me and my delegation in Seoul.

And we are committed to fight against extremism and terrorism.  It is in the interest of Pakistan for a stable, peaceful, prosperous, independent, sovereign Afghanistan.  We want stability in Afghanistan.  If there is a stability in Afghanistan it's a stability in Pakistan, and peace for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We want to work together with you to have all the peace, prosperity and progress of the whole world.  And we want to work together. 

I appreciate that you have said good words about Pakistan, that you want to respect the sovereignty of our country.  So we are picking that up at our parliamentary session and we are -- and we are to go into that Sunday to the parliament.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Save travels.

PRIME MINISTER GILANI:  Thank you.

Thank you, everybody.

END
5:20 P.M. KST