U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, MARC GROSSMAN:
"U.S. TO REVIEW LIST OF STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM"
As part of ongoing consultations with Afghanistan's neighbors
and international partners U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc
Grossman while in Astana met with Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov
and Prime Minister Karim Masimov. He agreed to discuss the issues that topped
the agenda of his talks in an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan.
- The Kazakh parliament has been putting the issue of sending
the Kazakh troops to NATO coalition's headquarters in Kabul on the back burner.
Some political experts assume that the bill will be rejected by the parliament
altogether. What is the most likely response of the U.S. Government if it happens?
- It's worth stepping back for a moment looking at all of the
things that Kazakhstan does to support Afghanistan. When you think of the number
of students from Afghanistan here in Kazakhstan and the way Kazakhstan supports
Afghanistan that's a very important effort. The other kind of assistance, for
example, Kazakhstan is also providing a huge amount of diesel and petrol to
Afghanistan and also participating in the Northern Distribution Network (transit
of cargoes from Afghanistan via Kazakhstan - "IF-Kazakhstan.").
As to the specific question of the status of the law in parliament,
the issue is up to Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan parliament will make its own decision
and that's the right of Kazakhstan. We very much appreciate the effort that
is being made to support Afghanistan and we'd look forward to continuing. I
would not like to make any assumptions until the Kazakhstan parliament acts.
Given all of the things that Kazakhstan and the United Stated are doing together
in Afghanistan, this is something for Kazakhstan to decide and then we will
- When will Kazakhstan be removed from the U.S. State Department
list of state sponsors of terrorism?
- All I can say is that the list will be reviewed.
- The U.S. embassy soon after the list had been published, said
that the U.S. did not see Kazakhstan as the country condoning terrorism. Doesn't
it seem a little inconsistent?
- Both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister made their
views clear to me today. And that's their responsibility and I understand that.
I certainly recognize the reaction here in Kazakhstan, which is why I support
the statement that was issued by the Unites States embassy.
As reported, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry expressed bewilderment over the decision
by the United States Department of Homeland Security to put Kazakhstan on the
list of countries that have shown a tendency to promote, produce or protect
terrorist organizations or their members. Later the U.S. embassy circulated
a statement to deny that the U.S. Government considers that Kazakhstan in any
way supports terrorism.
Nothing about that list says that Kazakhstan is a supporter of
terrorism or harbors terrorism. The list is about individuals and not about
The operational outcome of the document is that it does not affect
people getting visas, does not affect people traveling to the United States.
- According to official statements, a reverse cargo transit across
Kazakhstan and Russia is thought necessary to facilitate NATO withdrawal from
Afghanistan by 2014. Is the U.S involved in any talks to settle this issue?
- We have made our view known that we would like to do that reverse
non-lethal transit from Afghanistan. And now we are waiting for the Kazakh government
to give us some advice on that.
- Since April this year, the international agreement on the air
transit of cargo and personnel to Afghanistan has been in effect between Kazakhstan
and the US. Do you think this agreement is effective? How much cargo has been
already hauled and how much was paid to Kazakhstan for transit?
- Out transit agreement is working extremely well and we are proud
of the work that Kazakhstan and the United States do together on that particular
agreement. I don't have such numbers at my disposal right now. We will see if
we can get the information in due time.
- Can you confirm the information that the U.S. has established
a direct contact with the Taliban? Has the U.S. considered a possibility of
engaging the Taliban in the government of Afghanistan to restore stability in
- The question is really to the Taliban. As to whether they are
prepared to meet these conditions for reconciliation. And nobody I know is talking
to them of being in the leadership positions in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has a very important choice to make: they can keep
fighting and be defeated militarily or they can work with the government of
Afghanistan and Afghan society to pursue this reconciliation track.
As the secretary Clinton has said we have tried to use a broad
range of contacts in the region including a preliminary contact with the Taliban.
And our message to the Taliban is: if they wish to be part of the reconciliation
process, they need to break their ties with Al-Qaeda, to lay down their weapons
and also to promise and commit to live in accordance with the Constitution of
Afghanistan, particularly with the guarantees of the rights of women.
In June Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the United States and other
foreign powers were engaged in preliminary talks with the Taliban about a possible
peaceful settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan. Later the British Foreign
Secretary William Hague confirmed that Britain participated in peace talks with
the Taliban. In response the Taliban released a statement to deny holding talks
with the US or other countries.
It's very important to recognize that it is the desire of the
Unites States to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process. Reconciliation
with Afghan society is the way to end 30 years of conflict in Afghanistan. Everything
we are doing supports the Afghan reconciliation process.
- Thank you for this interview!
й 2011 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
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