Ambassador Marc Grossman, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, joined Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Jaweed Ludin, and other officials for a trilateral meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 3, 2011. During a press conference at the meeting, Ambassador Grossman said:
"Thank you all for coming. Let me begin by thanking Foreign Secretary Bashir for so kindly hosting this trilateral meeting today, and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin for traveling from Kabul to be here. From my side, I also express my appreciation to both Ambassador Munter and Ambassador Eikenberry who join me here today. I look forward to future meetings of this group.
"Before I make a comment about the particular meeting that we had, I thought I would make a statement about the death of Osama bin Laden because the three countries that are here share a commitment to end violent extremism. And the three countries that are represented here consider the end of Osama bin Laden on Monday as a shared achievement for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States. This is the end of someone who was violently subverting democratic government in the region and notorious for murderous acts against innocent civilians that made him an enemy of not just the United States, but Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.
"One thing that is so clear is that all three countries have a commitment to end extremism. This effort is far from over. You don't have to look any farther than to look at the statement issued by the Taliban on May 1st about their spring offensive in which they have among other things used suicide bombers as young as 12 years old.
"While we focus on the issue of extremism and the end to extremism, it does not alter our commitment to our long term effort to promote economic and political success and prosperity in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"We had a productive session today. We thought among the three of us this was a way that we would consult, coordinate, and cooperate. For me, it is an operational outcome of the speech that Secretary Clinton gave in February in New York, which said we wanted to put more diplomacy behind an Afghan-led reconciliation process; put more diplomacy behind the regional effort to support a safe, secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Today, our discussion focused on how we can make Afghan reconciliation successful. This process needs to have support of so many regional countries, but especially the support of Pakistan. Foreign Secretary Bashir was so nice to come to Washington a couple of weeks ago. He conveyed to me how important it was to Pakistan to support this Afghan-led reconciliation process. And with that, we are in complete agreement.
"Building a peaceful and prosperous South Asia is very much dependent upon the success of trade and economic integration. How to create more jobs? How to grow economies? That is one of the reasons that all of us talked about the importance of completing the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement as soon as possible. Foreign Secretary, I thank you very much for your hospitality, and I look forward to your questions."
Ambassador Grossman departed on April 27 for travel to New Delhi, Kabul, Islamabad and Riyadh. The Special Representative will participate in a number of routine consultations with his counterparts in the region. In all of his meetings in the region, Ambassador Grossman is emphasizing the U.S. commitment to long-term, enduring partnerships with both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and reaffirming Secretary Clinton's message in her February 18 speech to the Asia Society.