US lawmakers voice concern over Karzai's remarks
WASHINGTON (PAN): Voicing concern over recent statements of the Afghan President that US forces are occupiers, powerful American lawmakers on Thursday said though there was no alternative to Karzai at this point of time, he was very interested in a long-term relationship with America.
“I've been very disturbed by a number of the comments that he (Karzai) has made, particularly when he calls the United States "occupiers." I know he knows better. I know he knows better. I've known him too well and too long. Part of it is, I think, again, his trying to make sure that he remains if we leave,” Senator John McCain, said at a discussion on Afghanistan organized by the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think-tank.
“But I also think that he is sometimes speaking to his domestic audience. And sometimes I just frankly am confused by it and deeply disappointed by some of the things that he says,” McCain said. “I do believe that President Karzai is very interested in a long-term relationship with the United States. That means some kind of joint basing arrangement or some kind of security agreement,” he observed.
“I think that could really have a very big impact on President Karzai. I hope we could move forward with that proposal. There's the outline of it already in being,” McCain said.
Participating at the same panel discussion, Senator Joe Lieberman said he is more optimistic about improving US relationship with President Karzai in Afghanistan than with the Pakistanis, as important as it is for us to do that. “Without belaboring the point, to me Karzai is a capable and complicated leader in a very complicated political situation,” Lieberman said.
“I think …; we've lost his confidence here. And Ambassador Crocker really has to try to regain the kind of trust that will also allow us to say, Mr. President, we absolutely need you to stop doing this or start doing that. And I think Crocker's got a proven record of being able to do that in difficult circumstances,” the Senator said.
“There are worries that he will want to stay on, notwithstanding the constitution, for another term -- but the other thing the constitutional process makes clear is that Hamid Karzai is going to be President for Afghanistan until 2014. Those are three critical years. And we simply have to improve our relationship with him, and I believe we can,” Lieberman said.
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