Grossman repeats ‘do more’ mantra

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Making it clear that Pakistan needed to do “more” to deal with the safe havens of terrorists on its soil, US special envoy Marc Grossman on Friday said it would help bring peace to Afghanistan. On his maiden trip to New Delhi after being appointed US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Grossman called on Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and held extensive consultations on the situation in the region.
“There is always more to do and we are encouraging Pakistan to do everything possible to deal with the safe havens which will also play a big role in bringing peace to Afghanistan,” Grossman told reporters. Asked about US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen accusing the ISI of backing the Haqqani network, he said, “I have nothing to add or to subtract to whatever Mullen has already said. We do a huge amount of work with Pakistan in countering terrorism and extremism and that’s what we will continue doing.”
Grossman said since he was new to the job, it was important for him to come to India and take advantage of the expertise and experience of the “people here”. Meanwhile in the backdrop of the Pakistan-US row, Islamabad, Washington and Kabul will hold an important trilateral meeting on May 3 to discuss the Afghanistan reconciliation process and deliberate upon ways for its success. Grossman will hold bilateral talks with Pakistani authorities on that day.
On the next day, he will participate in the trilateral meeting of senior officials from the three countries along with Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who will represent Islamabad. This trilateral meeting is important in a sense that it is being held at a critical juncture when Islamabad and Washington are having a bad patch in their ties over drone strikes and presence of a large number of CIA operatives.
“All these issues will be discussed in the trilateral meeting scheduled for May 3 along with ways and means to carry forward the US-backed Afghanistan reconciliation process between Karzai government and Taliban,” a Pakistani diplomat said. He said Grossman was also likely to repeat the US demand of doing away with alleged safe havens of terrorists in the Tribal Areas during his meetings with Pakistani officials here.
He said the Pakistani authorities would ask for a halt in the drone strikes and withdrawal of CIA operatives from Pakistani soil. Coinciding with Grossman’s visit to Islamabad, Pakistan’s Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Athar Ali will also hold vital talks with US officials in Washington on May 2 during which issues related to transfer of drone technology to Islamabad will be discussed.