New Af-Pak envoy leaves for his first trip to restive region
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 12:42
Washington: Mark Grossman, the new Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, on Tuesday left Washington for his maiden trip to the region to have a firsthand account of the situation.

Grossman will attend the International Contact Group (ICG) meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and meet with key partners and allies to continue ongoing consultations, State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters.

The first ICG meeting of 2011 will be in Jeddah on March 3, hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Chaired by German Ambassador to Af-Pak Michael Steiner, the ICG includes representatives from nearly 50 countries and international organizations.

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

Afghanistan's delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and will include Chairman of the High Peace Council Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani.

The Government of Pakistan's delegation will be led by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.

Grossman will also travel to London to meet his British counterpart Karen Pierce and attend other meetings.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, Grossman will meet with top officials and representatives from civil society and local media.

In his meeting, he will emphasize the US commitment to long-term, enduring partnerships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan, an official release said.

He will continue the ongoing dialogues begun by late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and reaffirm the message Secretary Hillary Clinton made in her February 18 speech to the Asia Society.

He would conclude his trip with a stop in Brussels, to continue our close ongoing consultations with NATO leadership.


First Published: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 12:42

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