Retired diplomat Marc Grossman picked as new US special envoy to Af-Pak region

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen Marc Grossman, a retired senior diplomat and former ambassador to Turkey, as the Obama administration’s new Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, a senior State Department official has revealed.

Grossman, who left the State Department in 2005 and is presently the vice chairman of a consulting firm, will succeed Richard C. Holbrooke, who died of a torn aorta in December 2010, The New York Times reports.

Clinton met with Grossman on Monday, and he was introduced to the members of late Holbrooke’s staff, the official said on the condition of anonymity, as the appointment is yet to be officially announced.

Grossman must still undergo a vetting process although Clinton may announce his appointment as soon as Friday, the official added.he search for Holbrooke’s replacement was difficult, with Clinton considering several senior diplomats before finding Grossman, the report said.

According to officials, among the names on her list were Strobe Talbott, a former deputy Secretary of State who heads the Brookings Institution, and Frank G. Wisner, a former Ambassador to Egypt, who was recently sent on a mission to prod former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to declare that he would not to run for re-election.

Holbrooke’s post had been filled on an interim basis by his deputy, Frank Ruggiero, who had served as the head of the provincial reconstruction team in the Afghan city of Kandahar.

Grossman, who now works for the Cohen Group, was the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, in addition to his post in Turkey. He was also Under Secretary of state for Political Affairs, the highest-ranking job in the State Department for a career diplomat.

If he passes his background checks, Grossman could face an early challenge in Pakistan, where the government has arrested an American diplomat- Raymond Davis- on the charges of killing of two Pakistani men in Lahore, resulting in a diplomatic row between the two allies in the war on terror. (ANI)

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