US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan James Dobbins is set to arrive on Friday as part of diplomatic efforts to break the deadlock in the Afghan reconciliation process.
Dobbins will meet senior Pakistani officials including Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz during his two-day trip to Islamabad.
His visit comes amid continued impasse over the Qatar process, which started with much fanfare but ended in stalemate due to opposition by the Karzai administration. Sources told The Express Tribune that US President Barrack Obama’s pointman for the region will discuss ways to revive the Qatar process with Pakistani authorities.
Sartaj Aziz travelled to Kabul on Sunday in a bid to jump-start the fragile peace process but his talks with top Afghan leadership remained inconclusive.
A foreign office official said the Karzai government was impeding the process for ‘vested interests’. The official said PM’s adviser Aziz clearly told the Afghan leadership that Pakistan was in favour of a united Afghanistan and therefore it was not part of any conspiracy or plan to break up the war-torn country.
Diplomatic sources said apart from discussing current regional situation, Dobbins would also finalise the agenda for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s forthcoming visit. Kerry, according to sources, is due to travel to Islamabad by the end of this month.
Although there were speculations that Kerry’s visit might be delayed, official sources said his visit is very much on. One source, however, added there might be some changes in his itinerary due to the ill health of his wife.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.