U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Visits Kazakhstan

Press Statement
Richard Holbrooke
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan 
Astana, Kazakhstan
February 21, 2010

On February 21, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, visited Kazakhstan. Ambassador Holbrooke met with Prime Minister Karim Masimov and State Secretary/Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and how Kazakhstan and the United States can work together to ensure security and prosperity across Central Asia. After his meeting with Foreign Minister Saudabayev, Ambassador Holbrooke said, “Kazakhstan is a very important country in its own right in the region and it’s also directly affected by events in Afghanistan, so it’s natural that I would come here today to consult with the Kazakh government.” They also discussed Kazakhstan’s historic OSCE Chairmanship and other bilateral issues aimed at strengthening the strategic relationship that exists between Kazakhstan and the United States. “Kazakhstan is the largest, wealthiest, and most successful country in the region. It has directed a multi-directional foreign policy with great skill, under the leadership of President Nazarbayev. It took decisive and historic actions 18 years ago, in regard to nuclear weapons for which the world should be eternally grateful. Kazakhstan, because of its location and its history, is poised between several of the greatest powers in the world and has managed to work well with all of them. Anyone who knows this region should admire the foreign policy conducted by President Nazarbayev,” said Ambassador Holbrooke.

Richard C. Holbrooke served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, where he was also a member of President Clinton’s cabinet (1999-2001). As Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (1994-1996), he was the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. He later served as President Clinton’s Special Envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo and Special Envoy to Cyprus on a pro-bono basis while a private citizen. From 1993-1994, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany.

During the Carter Administration (1977-1981), he served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and was in charge of U.S. relations with China at the time Sino-American relations were normalized in December of 1978.

After joining the Foreign Service in 1962, he served in Vietnam (1963-66), including a tour of duty in the Mekong Delta for USAID. He worked on Vietnam issues at the Johnson White House (1966-68); wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers; and was a member of the American delegation to the Vietnam Peace Talks in Paris (1968-69).

He was Peace Corps Director in Morocco (1970-72), Managing Editor of Foreign Policy (1972-77), and held senior positions at two leading Wall Street firms, Credit Suisse First Boston (Vice Chairman) and Lehman Brothers (Managing Director). He has written numerous articles and two best-selling books: To End a War, a memoir of the Dayton negotiations, and co-author of Counsel to the President, Clark Clifford’s memoir. He previously wrote a monthly column for The Washington Post.

He has received over twenty honorary degrees and numerous awards, including several Nobel Peace Prize nominations. He was the Founding Chairman of the American Academy in Berlin, a center for U.S.-German cultural exchange; formerly President and CEO of the Global Business Coalition, the business alliance against HIV/AIDS; and former Chairman of the Asia Society. Previous NGO board memberships have included the American Museum of Natural History, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Citizens Committee for New York City, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Refugees International. He was Director Emeritus of The Africa-America Institute, was on the Advisory Board of MEMRI, was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and formerly a member of the U.S. Board of Governors of Interpeace, and a former Professor-at-Large, Brown University.