Media Stakeout in Warsaw

Press Availability
Marc Grossman
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan 
Warsaw, Poland
March 20, 2012

Ambassador Grossman: I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Marc Grossman. I’m the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan from the United States. I’m on a trip that has taken me here over the last few days to a number of our major NATO partners and other friends to talk about the future of Afghanistan and talk about getting ready for the NATO Summit in Chicago.

So it’s an honor to be here in Warsaw today. I came basically with one message and that is to express my admiration for the effort that Poland has made – Polish soldiers, Polish diplomats, Polish development experts – over the past ten years in Afghanistan and to express my solidarity with Poland for the effort that’s been made as part of the NATO Alliance and part of the International Security and Assistance Force.

I had the good fortune this afternoon to be received at the Presidency, which was very nice. I’m here at the Foreign Ministry, and we’re on our way to the Ministry of Defense.

Our goal really is to consult, to discuss the future as we move towards Chicago, and to understand Polish views going forward.

With that I’d be glad to take a few questions.

Media: What’s [inaudible] can expect at the Summit in Chicago?

Ambassador Grossman: The Chicago Summit I think is going to be a very important event, obviously first for NATO and then for the ISAF countries, because of several things I hope will happen there.

First of all, it will be a way to recommit to the decisions that were taken in Lisbon about the Lisbon way forward to 2014 in Afghanistan.

It will also be a way to recognize that on the way to 2014 there’s going to be some very important news in 2013, which is that the transition to Afghan lead in security, exactly as was proposed at Lisbon, is taking place. About 50 percent of Afghans now live in geographies where the Afghans have the lead in security. That number’s going to go up to 75 percent. And there’s going to be an important milestone in 2013 that I think that the NATO Summit will mark.

Secondly, I think it will be very important at the NATO Summit to give the message to Afghans, to people in the region, that the countries that are represented there have a commitment to the future security of Afghanistan, for example by supporting the Afghan National Security Forces.

Chicago is a chance for countries to look at the declaration that was made in Bonn in December and start to make some of those commitments real. So we look forward to welcoming our partners to Chicago and we were glad to have this consultation today.

Media: [Inaudible]?

Ambassador Grossman: First I think the important thing is that everything that Poland has done has been in solidarity with the NATO Alliance, number one. Number two, everything Poland has done, and I believe will do in the future, is absolutely consistent with the decisions that were taken in Lisbon. That’s a very important point to make, I think both to the Polish public, if you would allow me, and also to publics around the Alliance.

This decision at Lisbon still remains the keystone of our effort in Afghanistan and I believe from everything I have heard today and everything the ambassador has been able to tell me and report to Washington, that Poland remains committed to that Lisbon decision exactly as does the United States of America.

I’ll take one more.

Media: How will they be sure that Pakistan will not be involved in the situation in Afghanistan after 2014?

Ambassador Grossman: I think first of all, Pakistan has a very important role to play in the region. If you go back to the very important international conference in Istanbul last year, what was that? It was the neighbors and the near neighbors of Afghanistan getting together and recognizing that there can be no secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan unless there’s a secure, stable and prosperous region. The Pakistanis have an important role to play in this.

They also, as you say, have an important role to play in the future of Afghanistan, and I think that the statement made by Prime Minister Galani I guess two or three weeks ago calling on the Taliban to participate in an Afghan peace process, supporting an Afghan-led, an Afghan-owned process for reconciliation, that’s a very important development and I hope those kinds of developments will continue.

Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.