Pakistan welcomes appointment of U.S. envoy

Pakistan welcomed on Friday the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as a special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan while analysts said he would have to confront Pakistan-India tension if his aim was regional peace.

President Barack Obama appointed the foreign policy veteran on Thursday and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari to inform him of the decision, the Foreign Ministry said.

By Robert Birsel

“Pakistan welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Holbrooke and looks forward to enhanced and fruitful engagement with the special envoy to further the cause of peace and stability in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

Government spokesmen in Afghanistan were not available.

Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations who negotiated the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war, faces an array of challenges in dealing with the war in Afghanistan and its tense and fragile border with Pakistan.

Obama has ordered a review of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. He promised during the campaign to bolster troop levels there to battle growing violence and a resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda.

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