New US envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan makes first trip

Marc Grossman to begin first official trip today with talks planned in London, Jeddah, Kabul, Islamabad and Brussels.


Afp March 01, 2011

WASHINGTON: The new US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan was to begin his first official trip Monday with talks planned in London, Jeddah, Kabul, Islamabad and Brussels, officials said.

Diplomat Marc Grossman is scheduled to travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a March 3 meeting of countries neighboring or concerned with Afghanistan, according to State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

Chairing the meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) will be Grossman's German counterpart, Michael Steiner, the State Department said in a statement.

The session will be hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

"By hosting the meeting, the OIC will highlight the essential contributions to Afghanistan and Pakistan from Muslim-majority countries," according to the statement.

More than one-third of the nearly 50 countries and international organizations in the ICG are OIC member states, the statement said.

Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul will head the delegation from Afghanistan, which will also include Burhanuddin Rabbani, chairman of a peace council set up to broker an end to the war with the Taliban.

Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs, will head the delegation from Islamabad, the statement added.

Grossman, appointed February 18, succeeded Richard Holbrooke, a formidable negotiator who died suddenly on December 13 of a torn aorta at age 69.

In London, Grossman will meet his British counterpart Karen Pierce and attend "other key meetings," the State Department said.

In Kabul and Islamabad, Grossman will meet senior government officials, civil society representatives and local media.

"In his meeting, Ambassador Grossman will emphasize the US commitment to long-term, enduring partnerships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan," the statement said.

It said he will pursue "the ongoing dialogues" begun by Holbrooke.

Grossman will end his tour in Brussels "to continue our close ongoing consultations with Nato leadership," it added.

COMMENTS (1)

Viqqar ul Haq | 10 years ago | Reply I hope the US envoy looks into the past and brings sagacity and wisdom to the world leaders. The US is not only the sole super power, it is the power that tries to bring peace and helps peoples around the world. But, it is the most hated nation in Earth. There was time, in the 1950s, when the US was the most praised and loved country. It was the envy of every one to go to the US and learn and see this great nation. But, for reasons I have not been able to grasp, the US helps countries fight disease, improve education, build roads and bridges, gives billions in aid and loans, but the net result is nil, it is still the target of hatred. Why is it so? The new envoy must ponder as to what is holding the US in such low esteem.
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