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Britain names envoy to Afghanistan, Pakistan

Britain named its current ambassador in Kabul as its new special representative to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, working closely with US special envoy Richard Holbrooke.

world Updated: Feb 09, 2009 18:26 IST

Britain on Monday named its current ambassador in Kabul as its new special representative to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, working closely with US special envoy Richard Holbrooke.

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, an Arabic speaker who has previously been Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia as well as Israel, will take up his new post in March, said Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

"Sherard Cowper-Coles has made a major contribution to the UK effort in Afghanistan during his time as Ambassador in Kabul," Miliband said.

"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 United Kingdom's own strategic interests."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman Michael Ellam said the purpose of Cowper-Coles's appointment was to "reinforce the UK's strategic engagement, both with Afghanistan and with Pakistan."

"And Sir Sherard will work closely with (US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan) Richard Holbrooke and other international partners to help support both the Afghan and the Pakistani governments."