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New Afghan envoy Grossman leaves for region

New Afghan envoy Grossman leaves for region

Mar 01, 2011 - 11:28

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The new special envoy for Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistaninfo-icon, Mark Grossman, left for the region on Monday, but not before meeting Kabulinfo-icon’s top diplomat in Washington, Ambassador Eklil Hakimi.

 “I am looking forward to working with you on achieving our common objectives to further strengthen the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership,” Hakimi told Grossman.

The ambassador said Grossman had the confidence of the Afghan people to continue to encourage Afghanistan’s transition towards a democratic, stable and civil societyinfo-icon.

Grossman’s first stop will be London, where he will meet with his UK counterpart, Karen Pierce. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is also in London on an official visit, although it was not clear if the two would be meeting there.

Grossman will attend the International Contact Group meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on March 3, and meet with key partners and allies there to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, told reporters.

The meeting is being hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and will include representatives from nearly 50 countries and international organizations.

By hosting the meeting, the OIC will highlight the essential contributions to Afghanistan and Pakistan of Muslim-majority countries More than a third of the participants of the meeting are from OIC member states.

Afghanistan’s delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul and will include Chairman of the High Peace Councilinfo-icon Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani.  Pakistan’s delegation will be led by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. 

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, Grossman will meet with top officials and representatives from civil society and local media, and emphasize the US’s commitment to long-term, enduring partnerships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan, an official release said.

The trip is Grossman’s first as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan since taking over the role following the death of Richard Holbrooke last year.


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