Clinton unveils energy aid for Pakistan

Oct. 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a $125 million package that targets repairs and improvements to the Pakistani energy grid.

Clinton met Wednesday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad. Her energy talks were overshadowed by a massive suicide bombing in Peshawar that killed more than 80 people.

She noted, however, that Pakistan needs more than a partnership in the global fight against extremists.

"They want partners in infrastructure and in health and in education and energy," she said en route to her meeting.

The $125 million package targets repairs to power generation facilities, improves the effectiveness of local utilities and promotes overall energy efficiency, the U.S. State Department said.

Weak management and outdated equipment results in sweeping blackouts in Pakistan as power companies lose nearly 30 percent of the electricity they purchase.

Included in the program are updates to a hydroelectric power station and rehabilitation of several thermal power stations.

The energy package comes on the heels of a huge aid package for Pakistan that focuses on economic and educational development. That measure also authorizes U.S. military assistance to help Pakistan in its fight against al-Qaida and other insurgents, focusing specifically on counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism measures.

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