New Af-Pak envoy leaves for his first trip to restive region

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 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.

PTI




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