Pact to be signed before or at Chicago Summit: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): The much-awaited Strategic Partnership Document between the US and Afghanistan would be signed either before or at the NATO Summit to be held in Chicago in May, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.
“We are committed to a long-term productive and mutually beneficial partnership with the government and people of Afghanistan,” Clinton told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul.
“We're continuing our discussions to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of our countries and reflects the commitment we have to an enduring relationship,” Clinton said, adding the two countries had made good progress over the last few weeks to resolve some outstanding issues.
“The recent memorandum of understanding on detention operations was signed. We are looking forward to finalising the so-called night raids agreement. These are complicated issues, but we are resolving them. We're clearing the way toward a strategic partnership agreement. We would very much like to be in a position to sign such an agreement either before or at the Chicago summit...” Clinton said.
During talks lasting about 45 minutes at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of State Department, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the recent tragic events in Afghanistan, Strategic Partnership Document, the situation in the region and transition.
“We have also discussed transition issues. We know that you are starting the third phase of transition and we'll continue to commit to that. We have discussed strategic partnership," the visiting foreign minister said.
“We have made a lot of progress recently on two issues of detainees and special forces action, and I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to sign a strategic partnership as soon as possible, hopefully before the Chicago conference,” Rassoul added.
The minister said the US and Afghanistan had made progress on the framework of special operation and night raids. “The next meeting will happen tomorrow in Kabul, and I'm confident that we'll reach soon a conclusion, but's premature to give you details of the content of that agreement,” he said.
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