New US envoy vows to encourage Indo-Pak peace
WASHINGTON: Ryan Crocker, nominated US ambassador to Pakistan by President George Bush, praised the “far-sighted statesmanship” demonstrated by Indian and Pakistani leaders in their peace process.
At a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Mr Crocker pledged to encourage India-Pakistan reconciliation, which, he said, was “the key to peace, security and stability in the region”. “If I am confirmed, my main overarching goal will be to protect all Americans by enhancing Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror,” he said. Mr Crocker, praising last Friday’s talks between President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said, “The leaders of India and Pakistan demonstrated far-sighted statesmanship in initiating the composite dialogue this year. These two countries, which stood at the brink of war just two years ago, have made impressive progress. We stand ready to assist them in whatever way we can.”
The hearing was chaired by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana. Mr Crocker, a senior foreign service officer who is currently an international affairs advisor at the US National War College, has also served as ambassador to Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon. He has also served as director of governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of near Eastern affairs. Echoing Mr Crocker’s views on terrorism, Mr Lugar said, “We support the Pakistani government’s efforts to rout terrorism and are committed to Pakistan’s long-term development and prosperity. “Many of the religious parties in Pakistan have links to extremists who fought in Afghanistan and Kashmir. A crackdown on extremism in Pakistan is necessary to help prevent future terrorist attacks, as well as to facilitate the India-Pakistan peace process.” President Bush nominated Mr Crocker on September 23 as successor to another senior diplomat, Nancy Powell, who has completed her term as envoy in Islamabad. online