Holbrooke to be envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan ‘and related matters’

January 22nd, 2009 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanWashington, Jan 22 (IANS) Now that Hillary Clinton has been confirmed as Secretary of State, the Obama administration is expected to name former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke as envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan “and related matters”, media reports here said.Holbrooke will take on the difficult job of soothing relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, whose border is a haven for the Taliban and is believed to harbour Osama bin Laden, the Washington Post said citing sources close to the administration.

“Left unsaid is that Holbrooke’s brief could extend to India, which has been a victim of Islamic terrorism from Pakistan but is suspicious of third-party intervention in the dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir,” the Post said.

Holbrooke was the chief architect of the Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian conflict in the mid-1990s, a peace that has held to this day in the ethnically divided country, it noted.

In another high-profile appointment, former Democrat Senate majority leader George Mitchell is expected to be named as Middle East envoy.

Mitchell will be tasked with rebuilding the Middle East peace process in the wake of the three weeks of violence between Israel and the Palestinianm militant group Hamas.

During the Clinton administration, Mitchell was instrumental in the settlement of the Northern Ireland conflict and in 2000 headed a commission that looked into the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Both men are highly regarded for their diplomatic skills but have vastly different styles. Mitchell, a former federal judge, calmly and patiently approaches difficult issues while the hard-charging Holbrooke is known as a demanding task-master, the Post said.

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