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December 26, 1999
UN's British expert on Afghanistan offers to resolve stalemate
Y Siva Sanker
British national Andrew Tesoriere, head of the Islamabad-based United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, has expressed willingness to travel to Kandahar to resolve the hijack stalemate, should the UN headquarters or Indian authorities seek his assistance.
British and US nationals are prohibited from visiting the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan on security grounds.
Speaking to rediff.com from Islamabad, Tesoriere said his own as well as his team's wide contacts and working experience in Afghanistan could prove useful. The UN headquarters had, however, asked its Humanitarian Coordinator in Islamabad Erik de Mul and his team to undertake the mission to Kandahar, at the Indian government's request.
"We are not playing a negotiating role. We are trying to appreciate the situation at a humanitarian level. At a personal level, I am disappointed that I have not been asked to make the trip to Afghanistan. I would have loved to play a full role," Tesoriere said.
He refused to elaborate on what he meant by "full role." "I am not in the picture as of now. So I think it may not be profitable or constructive for you to speak to me."
He admitted that he has been in touch with the Indian authorities in a "semi-official" way. "The decisions are being taken in New York. Security Co-ordinator Stephan Benon Sevan is the man to contact," he informed.
Asked whether he is satisfied over the progress made so far and the way the authorities have handled the hijack crisis, Tesoriere said his official ambassadorial position would not permit him to comment. "But I would be happy to see a happy and quick resolution of the crisis," he said.
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