WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama named special envoys for two of the world's hot spots: Afghanistan-Pakistan region and the Middle East. Obama chose former ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy for Afghanistan, Pakistan and related issues. George Mitchell, a former senator and seasoned international trouble-shooter, was tapped as an envoy who will try to jumpstart moribund Arab-Israeli peace talks. The two envoys were introduced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department in the presence of President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden. Ambassador Holbrooke, 67, is credited with negotiating Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. He will coordinate his efforts with the national security and the State Department. In his brief remarks, Hobrooke said he will coordinate foreign assistance programme in the two countries to bring coherence to the US efforts in the region and advance the American goals. Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said, are very distinct countries but are intertwined by the current challenges. Agencies add: "I pledge my full effort to the search of peace and stability in the Middle East," said Mitchell, as he was introduced at a ceremony at the State Department by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with Obama at her side. "This is a very difficult assignment as we all know," said Holbrooke, once dubbed the Kissinger of the Balkans. "Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well." "In Pakistan the situation is infinitely complex. I will say that in putting Afghanistan and Pakistan together in the one envoy we fully respect Pakistan has its own history and its own traditions." George Mitchell, a Maronite Catholic whose mother was Lebanese, managed to bring together the leaders of Northern Ireland's religious communities with a mixture of compromise and talks to sign the historic Good Friday agreement in 1998. In a speech during a maiden visit as President to the State Department, US President Obama said Pakistan and Afghanistan are central in the war on terror. He said the situation remained "perilous" in Afghanistan and any progress in combating the Taliban-led insurgency will take time. New envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke would lead "our effort to forge and implement a sustainable approach to this critical region," Obama said. "The American people and the international community must understand that the situation is perilous. And progress will take time." On Middle East, the US President called on Israel to open Gaza border crossings to aid and commerce, as part of a lasting ceasefire following the conflict with Hamas. "Now we must extend a hand of opportunity to those who seek peace, as part of a lasting ceasefire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce," he said. The president, in his first major comments on the Middle East conflict since he was inaugurated on Tuesday, called for a monitoring regime involving the Palestinian Authority and the international community for open Gaza borders. The president also said he was deeply concerned about the loss of civilian life in the Gaza conflict. But he added Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israeli territory, and that he was fervently committed to Israel's security. He said he was sending new Middle East envoy George Mitchell to the region as soon as possible to help shore up a fragile ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. He said the US "will not torture" as it detains terrorism suspects and works to keep the country safe. The US President also backed Israel's right to defence against Hamas and promised to be actively engaged in trying to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Earlier, Hillary Clinton telephoned President Asif Zardari and shared with him the vision of the new Obama administration and its policies towards the region and Pakistan. President Zardari congratulated the new Secretary of State on assuming the important position. He also welcomed President Barack Obama's desire to seek "a new way forward" with the Muslim world. The President said that the United States of America, along with other international players, has an important responsibility to work on new initiatives for peace, progress and prosperity in the times ahead. Secretary Ms Clinton discussed with the President situation in the region and the Pak-US relations. President Zardari and Ms Clinton were of the view that the ties between the two countries, that have continued to expand in all facets over the years, will further strengthen between the new democratic government in Pakistan and the US. Profile of Holbrooke Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (born April 24, 1941), named by US President Obama as Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday, is a top-ranking American diplomat, magazine editor, author, professor, Peace Corps official, and investment banker. He is also the only person to have held the Assistant Secretary of State position for two different regions of the world (Asia from 1977-1981, and Europe from 1994-1996), and has been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize. From 1993-1994, he was US Ambassador to Germany. Although long well-known in diplomatic and journalistic circles, Holbrooke achieved great public prominence only when he brokered a peace agreement among the warring factions in Bosnia that led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, in 1995. Holbrooke was a contender in the replacement of Warren Christopher but ultimately lost to Madeleine Albright in 1997 when Bill Clinton chose a replacement for the Secretary of State. From 1999-2001, Holbrooke served as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Holbrooke was an advisor to the Presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in 2004. He then joined the Presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and became a top foreign policy adviser; Holbrooke was considered a candidate for Secretary of State in a Clinton or Obama administration. When the new Democratic administration of Barack Obama announced its choice, however, the post ultimately fell to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton herself. On January 22, 2009, Holbrooke was appointed as a Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, working under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Holbrooke received his AB from Brown University in 1962 and completed a post-graduate fellowship at Princeton University in 1970.