Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, held talks in Islamabad today with senior Pakistani officials as part of ongoing efforts to find a solution to the Afghan crisis.
Engaging in extensive consultations with members of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, Mr. Brahimi met with Foreign Secretary Inam-ul Haque and had a working lunch with Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, among other contacts.
In addition, Mr. Brahimi met with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers, who is currently assessing the agency's ability to cope with an outflow of refugees from Afghanistan.
A UN spokesman in Islamabad quoted Mr. Brahimi as saying "if [a] way can be found to liberate and empower the people of Afghanistan, this is something the international community can eventually be proud of."
Interviewed later by CNN, Mr. Brahimi said he was "very encouraged" by his meetings on Afghanistan, both in the region and before travelling there. "These [regional] governments and other governments interested in Afghanistan - and capable of influencing the situation in Afghanistan - seem to understand that the time for compromise, the time for allowing the people of Afghanistan to work out some kind of arrangement for themselves is there, and we are very hopeful that they will cooperate with us to achieve that result," he said.
Tomorrow, Mr. Brahimi is scheduled to meet with a broad range of Afghans, from political actors to civil society representatives.