July 29, 2009

CARDIN CALLS FOR INCREASED SUPPORT FOR DISPLACED PERSONS IN PAKISTAN TO HELP STABILIZE THIS NUCLEAR NATION

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, released the following statement in conjunction with a hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on the ongoing displacement crisis in Pakistan:

"Over two million Pakistanis have been displaced as a result of conflict between Taliban militants and Pakistani security forces.  Pakistan's stability is of vital, strategic importance to the United States, and the international community must support the Government of Pakistan to facilitate the safe return of those displaced.  I applaud the Pakistani Government's recent efforts to create security conditions necessary for displaced persons to return home.  More must be done, and rapidly, to meet the needs of this vulnerable population and prevent their exploitation by violent extremists.

"For the long term, we must take appropriate actions to promote sustainable development and eliminate the threat of violent extremism in this nuclear-armed nation.  I am proud to co-sponsor the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act as a tool to achieve this goal and further strengthen the US-Pakistani relationship. I also encourage the Government of Pakistan to consider joining the OSCE as a partner nation to assist in build critical multilateral relationships."