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Spanta outlines terms for deal with US

Spanta outlines terms for deal with US

Jul 23, 2011 - 18:12

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): A strategic cooperation agreement with the United States will be signed only when the Afghan government's conditions are met, the national security advisor said on Saturday.

In April, the US handed the draft strategic cooperation pact to the Karzai administration, which returned the document along with its observations and conditions.

President Karzai has repeatedly identified the country's security and training of Afghan forces as important conditions for signing the accord. A decision on the deal is to be taken in light of a Loya Jirgainfo-icon's recommendations.

Karzai's National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, testifying before the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon (lower house of parliament), said representatives from both sides discussed differences over the draft agreement on July 6.

The US wants a long-term cooperation declaration, but Afghanistaninfo-icon has suggested a strategic agreement, the advisor told lawmakers.

Washington has offered to implement decisions on strategic cooperation based on its financial resources, a suggestion rejected by Afghanistan, which insists on military and economic aid over the long haul, Spanta said.

He went on to reject another part of the draft which says the US desires a long-term stay in Afghanistan at the request of the government in Kabul. Disagreeing with the American view, he said two countries had their own security needs.

Instead the draft should say the two sides agree on the US presence in the country to fight terrorism, strengthen the Afghan government's capacity and train its security forces, Spanta believed.

Another demand of the government is that Afghan forces alone be authorised to detain terror suspects and conduct house searches. However, he explained, the US was yet to meet the four terms.

Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasul said both countries have set up commissions to negotiate the deal. Without giving details, he said discussions on the strategic pact had entered the second stage.


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