Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sedwill explains his new role in NATO

It was a sell-out last night and the packed audience who turned up at the Frontline Club to see the UK's ambassador to Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, were in for a surprise. Sedwill came straight from Brussels, where that afternoon he had been appointed as NATO's senior representative in Afghanistan. You can listen to a podcast of my interview with Mark Sedwill - and the many questions from the audience - here.
He explained to the audience at the Frontline Club that he would be relinquishing his ambassadorship and that hs replacement, yet to be named, would arrived within the next couple of months. The rumours had been circulating for several days that Sedwill would get the job, even though he has only been the UK's ambassador to Afghanistan for less than a year.
His job will be to ensure that aid from NATO's 44 member states reaches those parts of Afghanistan in which it is most needed. And because this is a NATO job, that also means tying aid into the military context. He will work closely with NATO military commander, General Stanley McChrystal.
Sedwill also talked about the importance of the London Conference on Afghanistan, to be held tomorrow.
Interesting to note that while the Frontline put the whole event live onto Livestream, the Foreign Office tweeted it. Here are their three tweets:
"I think we'll have a Nato presence for the next 10 - 12 years" new Nato rep Mark Sedwill ahead of #afghanconf
Mark Sedwill: "focus on delivering immediate needs. Security and justice are vital." #afghanconf
Mark Sedwill: my priority over the next 18 months is stabilisation. We need to tackle poverty.
#afghanconf #afghanistan

Incidentally, #afghanconf is the hashtag for the conference.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Mr Fielding, time for a short interview, for the Swedish daily newspaper Sydsvenskan (
It's regarding todays conference in London. Won't take long.
Best regards
/Henrik Hamrén, foreign desk Sydsvenskan