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On Afghanistan US Pompeo Happy Talk With Ghani Hours Before SOTU

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT, Scope

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 5 – Amid multiple reports that Zalmay Khalilzad would emerge from retirement to become US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Afghanistan envoy, Inner City Press recently banned from the UN after 10 years of coverage, as it reports on Secretary General Antonio Guterres' conflicts of interest for example on China Energy Fund Committee and on Cameroon, looked back, see below. Now on February 5, this from US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino: "Robert Palladino:‎  Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Afghanistan’s President Ghani to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to achieving a lasting peace in Afghanistan.  The Secretary underscored Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad’s role in facilitating an inclusive peace process.  The Secretary also emphasized the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue and the role of a ceasefire in ending the violence and creating the conditions for the Afghan government, other Afghan leaders and the Taliban to sit together and negotiate a political settlement.  Finally, the Secretary emphasized the important gains made by the Afghan people since 2001 and U.S. desire for a long-term partnership with Afghanistan." On November 20, after UNSG Guterres ignored Press questions and got into his (or you) Mercedes after a long lunch, Periscope video here, he put out a hard to take at face value statement on Afghanistan, below.  Back on December 2 from the US State Department, this: "Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2 – 20.  He will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate.  Special Representative Khalilzad will be in communication with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and other Afghans.
On his last trip to the region in November, Special Representative Khalilzad met with men and women active in civil society and peace efforts, members of the media, and other governmental and non-governmental officials. He stressed that all Afghans must have a say in creating a sustainable peace for Afghanistan.  The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people’s desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for international terrorism again." Back in November, Guterres said or had written for him this: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack targeting Afghans gathered in Kabul to celebrate a day of special religious significance.  The deliberate targeting of civilians is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. Every effort should be made to bring perpetrators to justice.The Secretary-General extends his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Afghanistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured." Must have been some lunch. Meanwhile former UN offiical Helen Clark on 19 November 2018 criticized Guterres' exclusion from the UN, Vine here. But does Guterres care? Can he hear, inside his Mercedes?


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