Vice President Biden arrives in Pakistan
January 12th, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Vice President Biden arrives in Pakistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President arrived in Pakistan this morning on a mission to make clear the American-Pakistani relationship is of vital importance to both countries.

In remarks alongside Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad, Biden said he wanted to clear up any “misconceptions” about U.S. intentions toward Pakistan, and to assure the United States is not waging a “war on Pakistan.” Biden said it was violent extremists who had “found refuge in some of the most remote parts of your country,” and who “violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and corrupt its good name.”

“Our goal is to work with your leaders and restore and strengthen sovereignty in those areas of your country where extremists have violated it,” he said.

In his remarks, Biden also noted the freedom of all religions to worship in America, and said America respects the Islamic faith. “We are not enemies of Islam, and we embrace those who practice that great religion in our country,” he said. Biden said that one of the world’s largest mosques is in Los Angeles.

Biden said he wanted to make clear the United States would never abandon Pakistan, citing the “close partnership” between the two countries.

Biden also offered his condolences for the governor of Punjab province who was assassinated last week. “There is no justification for such senseless acts,” he said. Earlier in the day, Biden called the widow of the governor to offer condolences on behalf of President Obama and the American people.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Gilani said he valued a mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and that “our friendship and partnership is based on shared values.”

Following his meeting with Prime Minister Gilani, Biden met with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff. He also met with President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidential palace after his arrival in Pakistan.

Biden began his day having breakfast with US troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

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