At this week's Brussels Forum, Ambassador Marc Grossman appeared on a panel called "Bridging the Trust Deficit with Pakistan" with prominent Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, and UK Defense Minister Liam Fox. The Brussels Forum, run by the German Marshall Fund, is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to address pressing challenges currently facing both sides of the Atlantic. At the discussion, which centered on the importance of strengthening U.S. and European relationships with Pakistan, Ambassador Grossman remarked that it is of crucial importance to "help Pakistanis have a strong and stable and democratic and prosperous country. And one in which we're working together to fight extremism, not just in Pakistan but all around the region."
When asked about how to bring about a shift in the regional dynamic, Ambassador Grossman commented on the "simultaneity" and interrelatedness of efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the difficulty of taking on any one issue in a vacuum. He pointed to three surges -- military, civilian and diplomatic -- as a means to achieve a political solution in Afghanistan:
"I think as Secretary Clinton said in her speech to the Asia Society in February, the Taliban have a choice. The Taliban who want to come and participate in reconciliation, break with Al Qaeda, stop the violence and be prepared to live inside of Afghanistan's constitution…It's time for reconciliation."
Ambassador Grossman also remarked about the significance of demonstrating a long-term commitment to our relationship with Pakistan. "The Kerry-Berman-Lugar legislation, focuses in on energy and water and jobs because they are the foundations of sustainability."
For a video of the event, click here and scroll to the video entitled "Bridging the Trust Deficit with Pakistan."