'Reckless' comments shouldn't hurt relations: envoy
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Friday, December 3, 2010 8:24AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 3:21AM EDT
Afghanistan and Canada shouldn't allow the "reckless" comments of one diplomat to hurt their longstanding relationship, said Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada on Friday.
William Crosbie, Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan, wrote to Ottawa earlier this week to give them a heads up about critical comments he made about Afghan President Hamid Karzai that may come out on the WikiLeaks website.
Crosbie offered to resign, but so far his bosses have stood by him.
Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan's envoy in Ottawa, said there is too much at stake to allow the remarks to damage relations between Afghanistan and Canada.
"The purpose of the ambassador is to build and serve the relationship between two countries and that is more important than the views of one diplomat or one person," Ludin told CTV's Canada AM.
"And I would not allow any of these small things to affect that because Canada has done so much for this country and that shouldn't be jeopardized by the reckless comments of an ambassador."
The documents that included Crosbie's comments were published by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.
In the summary of a breakfast meeting between Crosbie and U.S. ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Crosbie said the struggle to reform the Afghan electoral process "makes my blood boil."
He also warned that international partners must keep close tabs on Karzai and his family to prevent a "rigged election."
"The international community must stand up for the silent majority or be blamed for letting Karzai and his family establish across the country the system of patronage and control that exists in Kandahar," he was cited as saying.
One of the cables summarizes a meeting in which the two diplomats discussed Karzai's leadership. Eikenberry is cited as saying it would be self-delusional to believe that Karzai is "really stepping up to lead the country and embrace mutual strategic goals until he clearly does so of his own volition."
Ludin pointed out that Crosbie's comments in the documents were "personal views expressed in a personal context" and don't represent Canada's official position.
"We do take frank, candid views from our partners and they have happened in the past and they will continue to happen in the future," Ludin said.
Since Sunday, the controversial WikiLeaks website has been posting confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on the Internet. A few hundred have been published so far, with the website planning to publish more than 250,000 over time.
In one of the cables, Canada is described as having an "inferiority complex" when it compares itself to the U.S.
Ottawa and Washington have both said the WikiLeaks revelations will not affect relations between the two countries.
Ludin said the hundreds of leaked documents involving dozens of countries are "undermining the essence of diplomacy."
"People will not be able to confide with diplomats from the U.S. or other countries from now on because the next thing that happens they end up on the Internet," he said.
However, Ludin added that Afghanistan relies heavily on Canada and its other partners to help solve its security problems, and the relationship must survive.