U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan-
Ambassador Marc Grossman
January 20, 2012
Transcript of media interview
First of all, thank you all very much for coming out this morning. May I also thank the Government of India for all of the hospitality that we have been shown during the day today.
I am on a trip that has taken me so far first to Turkey, then to Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates, and here today to India. I had the opportunity today to call on the Foreign Secretary and I appreciated that very much. I also look very much forward to seeing my counterpart S.K. Lambah here in a few minutes, and then I have the honor to be received this afternoon by the National Security Advisor.
We have made this trip in support of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation and so after New Delhi this evening we are going to Kabul. I will have the opportunity to visit with the leadership of the Government of Afghanistan and particularly President Karzai tomorrow night. After our meeting with President Karzai, we will decide what to do next because we take his guidance and advice in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.
As I say we were very much honored to be able to spend some time with the Foreign Secretary this morning. We reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and I appreciated his desire to continue this conversation between the United States and India on this important subject. And so, with that I will be glad to take a few questions.
Q: Ambassador Grossman, was Pakistan discussed with the Foreign Secretary, and also, will it be discussed with the National Security Advisor? How worried is the United States of America with the developments in Pakistan?
A: First of all, let me just say obviously that the Indian government can speak for itself about the question of Pakistan, but what I would say is that of course we follow issues of Pakistan carefully, the relationship between Pakistan and the United States is very important. Pakistan, the government of Pakistan, the Parliament of Pakistan have asked for some time to reassess and reevaluate the relationship with the United States. I respect that. They have asked for time, to give them space, to have that reevaluation and I respect that. What I say is that when Pakistan is ready to reengage in a dialogue with the United States, we’re glad to do so at any time and at any place.
Q: As a supplementary to this Ambassador, stability is very low in Pakistan at the moment, tension between the army and the civilian government. Do you feel there is a cause for some tension in the subcontinent?
A: We have, I think been quite clear from the podium in Washington about our views on this. We support the civilian government in Pakistan and democracy in Pakistan. But you know, this is a question for the Pakistanis, this is an internal question for them. They have their own ways of going forward and, so I wouldn’t comment any further on their internal developments. I will take one more.
Q: Were you disappointed that you were not allowed to go to Pakistan?
A: As I said to your colleague, the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Parliament has taken time to reevaluate its relationship with the United States. And I want to repeat, I respect that. They have asked for space to do that, I respect that. And so when they are ready to have a conversation, I’m ready at any time, at any place.
Q: One last question, Ambassador Grossman. The ramifications of these developments on Afghanistan – how worried are you and what are you looking at in terms of repercussions in Afghanistan?
A: Well, obviously, the issues of the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan are hugely important. We’d like to continue to be in close conversation with the Pakistanis on that issue as well. Obviously what happens between Afghanistan and Pakistan is extremely important. We encourage dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’d like again to get into the meeting of the Core Group -- Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States -- because I think a conversation about all these things is really necessary.