WASHINGTON - Following is the speech given by American Senator John Kerry in US Senate while welcoming new Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman:

“Mr President, I want to welcome Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman. Ambassador Rehman has rightly been described as representing ‘the traditional values of Jinnah’s Pakistan.’ As a journalist, politician, and diplomat, she has fought tirelessly in defence of tolerance and moderation and has been a leading voice for women’s equality and protection of minority rights.”

Senator Kerry continued, “The United States-Pakistan relationship has been tested this past year, and while the problems we face are daunting, the basic fact is that stability in Pakistan remains vital to our national security. Ambassador Rehman has arrived in Washington at a time of deep mistrust on both sides. A series of tactical disputes have strained our strategic partnership. Progress on bedrock national interests has stalled, and Pakistan’s internal politics seems exceptionally turbulent at this time. Pakistan faces major challenges today, including an economic and fiscal crisis, a growing insurgency within its borders and cities, and chronic energy shortages. There is increasing anxiety in Pakistan about how the war will end in Afghanistan and what implications this will have for regional stability. Many on both sides are questioning the value and meaning of our strategic partnership. The truth is we have a lot of work to do to rebuild a productive relationship.”

Kerry added, “Despite our many frustrations and setbacks, we still have more to gain by finding common ground. Whether it is finding a political solution in Afghanistan, reducing militancy, supporting democracy and civil society, or promoting economic and development reforms, the basic fact is that our interests do converge. The challenge for all of us now is to find ways to act together in common purpose, when and where possible. For instance, on Afghanistan, we need to make our goals and strategy absolutely clear. Pakistan has a constructive role to play in forging a durable political settlement that will bring an end to this war. And while we have often been frustrated by the divergence of policies on Afghanistan, it remains important that we work together to further a reconciliation process that is Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento, Washington DC Page 1 of 3 Embassy of Pakistan Afghan led and supported by the region’s key players.”

He further added that, “This is a time for us to be careful, to be thoughtful, and to proceed deliberately but determinately—as I believe we are—to strengthen our relationship and confront our common challenges. Moreover, I want to emphasize that this relationship is not only about the threats we face. It is not only about defeating militant extremists who threaten the security of both our countries. It is also about building a deeper, broader, and long term strategic engagement with the people of Pakistan. As I have said before, Pakistan’s prosperity and its security—as well as our own— depend on it. And I am determined to make sure that the kind of projects supported by Kerry- Lugar-Berman funds remain on track and demonstrate our long term commitment to the stability of Pakistan and to the region itself”

Further adding on the same theme he said, “Make no mistake: our ability to influence events in Pakistan is limited, and we should be realistic about what we can achieve. But we cannot allow events that might divide us in a small way to distract from the shared interests that unite us in a big way. Mohammad Ali Jinnah said it best in his address to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly in 1947. His words are as relevant in today’s context as they were then: ‘If you will work in cooperation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed’. The road ahead will be difficult no doubt. But I look forward to working with Ambassador Rehman as a partner in these efforts in the months and years to come.”