President Barack Obama at the U.S. Department of State announced the appointment of former United States Senator George Mitchell as his Special Envoy for the Middle East, and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, as his Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said both regions needed active diplomacy. She said Senator Mitchell has a challenging task:
“He will lead our efforts to reinvigorate the process for achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors. He will help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in 2 states living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
Senator Mitchell said the situation in the Middle East is volatile, complex, and dangerous, but that concerted USG effort and leadership can help resolve the region's enduring conflicts:
“This effort must be determined, persevering, and patient. It must be backed up by political capital, economic resources, and focused attention at the highest levels of our government.”
Secretary of State Clinton said the situation in Afghanistan "requires an integrated strategy that works with both Afghanistan and Pakistan as a whole, as well as engaging NATO and other key friends, allies, and those around the world who are interested in supporting these efforts."
Ambassador Holbrooke noted that Afghanistan is faced with a difficult struggle and that Afghanistan and Pakistan have different histories but are "intertwined by geography, ethnicity, and the current drama":
“In putting Afghanistan and Pakistan together under one envoy, we should underscore that we fully respect the fact that Pakistan has its own history, its own traditions, and it is far more than the turbulent, dangerous tribal areas on its western border.”
Secretary of State Clinton told President Obama that the U.S. State Department accepts the challenge ahead:
“We want to do our very best work in furtherance of your goals.”