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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - As agreed during President Bush's visit to Pakistan on 3-4 March 2006, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman visited Islamabad today to discuss a wide range of issues related to Pakistan's growing energy needs. Secretary Bodman's visit symbolizes the strengthened and expanded relationship between the United States and Pakistan over the last five years.

Closer U.S.-Pakistan ties and cooperation have helped to bolster Pakistan's economy, which registered the second fastest growth in Asia last year. To continue this solid economic growth, Pakistan must have sufficient energy through a broad range of energy sources to ensure its energy security. Pakistan has prepared an Energy Security Plan (2005-2030), which forecasts a seven-fold increase in total primary consumption and an over eight-fold increase in the requirement of power over the next twenty-five years.

As President Bush underscored during his recent visit, the United States recognizes the urgency of Pakistan's energy needs and stands ready to assist Pakistan in developing sustainable options that meet both countries' requirements and concerns.

Secretary Bodman called on Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and held an expanded delegation-level meeting with Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri, who later hosted a working lunch. The talks provided Secretary Bodman and his delegation an opportunity to meet with key Pakistani officials working on a variety of energy issues.

Secretary Bodman and Foreign Minister Kasuri discussed key issues and the next steps for collaboration in the energy sector. The Pakistan side briefed the U.S. delegation on the country's energy needs and possible alternative sources, including hydel, gas, coal, nuclear and renewables. The U.S. private sector will be important to helping Pakistan achieve its energy objectives, and the United States will consult with its energy sector on Pakistan's energy needs.

As part of the Strategic Partnership announced by President Bush and President Musharraf last week, the U.S. and Pakistan agreed to explore ways to meet Pakistan's growing energy needs to strengthen its energy security, and affirmed their commitment to establish an energy working group.

In furtherance of this aim, Secretary Bodman invited Pakistan to send a team to Washington to discuss how the two countries can work together in energy cooperation and the steps that can be taken to attract more U.S. investment. The United States will also discuss with Pakistan the importance of an investment climate that will accelerate new energy investments and encourage further exploration of energy development opportunities for Pakistan.

The U.S. and Pakistan's ongoing cooperative efforts include renewable energy resource assessments by the National Renewable Energy Lab and funded by the USAID South Asia Regional Initiative - Energy.

Secretary Bodman appreciated the Government of Pakistan's gracious hospitality.

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940