London, Feb. 10 (ANI): Taking a cue from the US, the UK too has appointed a special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in a bid to enhance its strategic ties with both the countries.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who is UK's Ambassador to Afghanistan, will be working as British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's special representative. Coles will return to the Foreign Office next month.
The News quoted Miliband as saying; "Sherard Cowper-Coles has made a major contribution to UK's efforts in Afghanistan during his time as ambassador in Kabul. I want to continue to make use of his expertise as we take forward our work with both countries which is so critical to the UK's own strategic interests."
Sir Sherard will be working closely with the British Ambassador in Kabul and Britain's High Commissioner in Pakistan, but his focus would be on the cross cutting issues facing both the governments.
Mohammad Sarwar, who heads the British parliament's Scottish Affairs Select Committee and the Muslim Friends of Labour, UK lauded the move.
"Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are very important countries for Washington and London if peace and stability is to return to the South Asian region and these new appointments of Richard Holbrooke's in Washington and Sherard Cowper-Coles' in London reflected that importance," Sarwar said.
Earlier this month, Miliband made it very clear that the UK is going take its relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan very seriously, as both the countries have been held responsible for the deteriorating global security situation.
During the Munich Security Conference, Miliband said, "Though Europe no longer feared conventional conflict because of the post- World War II recipe of collective defence and economic integration, the European citizens still did not feel secure. "Why? Because they know how the breakdown in law and order in Pakistan or Afghanistan can threaten their security - in London, Hamburg or Istanbul."
He hoped that NATO would succeed in bringing lasting peace in Afghanistan with the help of its European and international partners.
"It demands not just new capabilities and technologies, but troops trained for irregular or asymmetrical warfare. The sacrifice is enormous. But we should be in no doubt that if we leave before the Afghan authorities - especially the Afghan National Army that the coalition and the Nato forces are training - are able to defend themselves, the Taliban will be back, and the country will once again become a haven for those who seek to do us harm." (ANI)