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Sec. Of State Clinton In Brussels To Discuss Pakistan Flood Relief; Report Estimates Damage At $9.7 Billion

Ahead of a European Union ministers meeting in Brussels, Belguim, on Friday to address flood-relief for Pakistan, “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested European Union leaders should follow the U.S. and withhold further flood-relief funding from Pakistan until Islamabad shows it is doing more to fight corruption and collect tax revenue from its wealthiest citizens,” the Wall Street Journal reports (Miller, 10/15).

During “a public statement as she joined the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in pledging continued assistance,” Clinton said, “The most important step Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms to expand its tax base,” Reuters reports. She added, “It’s absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States and other contributing countries are all chipping in” (Quinn, 10/14).

The meeting in Brussels is “co-hosted by Ashton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi,” according to the Agence France-Presse (10/14).  According to the BBC, “[t]he E.U. and U.S. have contributed some $450m (£280m) each to the Pakistan flood aid effort and the E.U. has also offered a trade deal to lift certain duties” (10/14).

According to the Wall Street Journal, “[t]he U.S. has also said Pakistan isn’t doing enough to battle militants along the Afghan border.” The article quotes Oxfam’s Rebecca Barber, who works in Islamabad, on any conditions put on U.S. aid to Pakistan: “People struggling from the floods shouldn’t have to pay because of issues with the government” (10/15).

In related news, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank announced on Thurday that $9.7 billion worth of damage was done to Pakistan’s infrastructure because of the flooding, Reuters reports in another article. “The two banks assessed 15 key sectors across Pakistan and the estimate included direct damage, indirect losses and reconstruction costs,” the news service reports (Georgy, 10/14).

The State Department released this update on U.S. support for Pakistan flood relief (10/14).