US Holbrooke to Europe, South Asia for Afghan talks

US envoy Richard Holbrooke heads to Europe and South Asia on Wednesday over Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

US Holbrooke to Europe, South Asia for Afghan talks
Holbrooke will visit London and Munich, where he will attend a security conference, and then Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, said U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

Holbrooke's exact travel dates were not disclosed.

"This is an orientation trip. He is not carrying any messages to any of these governments from either the secretary or the president and he is not going there to lecture, he is going there to listen," Wood told reporters, declining more detailed comment.

Obama has named Holbrooke as his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

U.S. officials who asked not to be named said there has been some debate within the government about whether, and how hard, Obama may press allies to send more troops to Afghanistan occupation or to ease restrictions on those already there.

Holbrooke's mandate was carefully drawn to avoid any suggestion that he would mediate between India and Pakistan.

"Like the Europeans and others, India has a very strong interest in Afghanistan, expressed by their over $1 billion in assistance, and in the issue of 'terrorism' in Pakistan and the region, so we are going to coordinate with (them) just like we coordinate with other interested parties," said one official.

Reuters
Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2009, 12:05
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