Afghanistan, US set for security negotiations
Washington : (PAN): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rasool on Wednesday announced their respective negotiators for a bilateral security agreement to establish a framework of their future security relationship based on a shared vision of a secure and stable Afghanistan.
Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador James Warlick will lead the negotiations for the United States, while Afghan Ambassador Eklil Hakimi will head the Afghan team.
Earlier, Clinton and Rasool kicked off the Afghan-US Bilateral Commission meeting at the State Department. “The Strategic Partnership Agreement and this bilateral commission will help to guide the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States as we move to the next phase of our relationship,” Clinton said.
“It reflects a shared vision and a shared commitment to mutual responsibility and accountability. And it focuses on areas that will be critical to Afghanistan's future, including in the areas of security, human rights and democracy, institutions and governance, economic development, and regional security and cooperation,” she said.
Officials from both sides discussed specific steps that they can take together to implement the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
Rasool said the Bilateral Commission will grow into the most key forum for their relation and partnership, and to convene in point for many committed actors in both their our government and to expansive dialogue to define and implement coordinated collaborative action in realizing their common interest and shared goals.
Afghanistan, he said, will continue to pursue the peace process vigorously. “This is the just and deserving right of the Afghan people and the surest path to ending the cycle of violence in Afghanistan. We recognize the significance of the upcoming election for the future stability of Afghanistan. We will ensure that the necessary conditions are in place for holding free, fair, and transparent elections,” he said.
Clinton said the security transition is on track. “Every day, Afghans forces are increasingly capable and taking more responsibility for their nation's security. On the political side, President Karzai has put forward an ambitious reform agenda leading up to elections in 2014,” she said.
“To prepare for an economic transition as the war winds down, we and our partners in the international community laid the groundwork for unlocking Afghanistan's economic potential at the Tokyo Conference this summer, where each country represented made commitments in the spirit of mutual accountability,” she said.
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