It has been a big week for those of us working on Pakistan. New attention on the intensely fractured relationship between the US and Pakistan has led to questions about the fate of current and planned aid packages- with emphasis on the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (or the Kerry-Lugar Act).
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama focused, as is custom, essentially on domestic issues, support for America’s troops and the key challenges ahead. His reference to foreign policy was brief, but he began with a welcome call for “a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.”
American leadership on international issues has long been an essential component to promoting peace and stability worldwide. For example, the President rightly extolled America’s efforts in driving and supporting the process that has led to the remarkably peaceful referendum in Sudan. This is no small accomplishment given the checkered recent past of the country.
There is no doubt that thousands of Haitians are suffering from an enormous disaster that warrants a strong international humanitarian response. Refugees International supports the relief efforts underway, as it’s clear that immediate humanitarian assistance is critical. In the coming weeks and months we hope the crisis will stabilize, allowing for longer-term thinking about reconstruction and development. As Haiti moves away from this tragic event toward a brighter future, countries and aid groups must remain engaged and committed. Anything less may result in a protracted or chronic humanitarian crisis for the people of Haiti.
The following statement was made by Acting President, Joel Charny, in response to the devastation created by the earthquake in Haiti on January 12.