BSA must guarantee our security: Karzai
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said the Afghan people, if convinced of their protection and respect for their country's sovereignty, would support the signing of the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States.
He made the remarks at a meeting with a US congressional delegation, led by Foreign Affairs Committee member Adam Kinzinger, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. US Ambassador James B. Cunningham was also present on the occasion.
Several issues of bilateral interest, including long-term partnership and the security pact, as well as the regional situation came up for discussion at the meeting, a statement from Karzai's office said.
Members of the visiting delegation briefed the president on its recent trip to Pakistan, saying their conclusion from the meetings they held with host leaders was that Islamabad was aware of the need for cooperating with Kabul.
Karzai billed as productive his last week's trilateral summit in London with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and British Premier David Cameron. The killing of the Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, in a US drone strike would not have any negative effect on peace efforts in the neighbouring countries, he believed.
According to the statement, the president said the new prime minister was determined to bring economic development to Pakistan and ensure its survival with dignity -- a goal that could not be realised without Afghanistan's cooperation.
Although the timing of the drone attack on the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, who was laid to rest in Waziristan a day earlier, was not right, it would not harm efforts to bring peace to the two countries, the president told his interlocutors.
The congressional delegation emphasised on a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, evincing America's interest in staying in the war-torn country beyond 2014, when most international combat troops would leave.
For his part, the president stressed the imperative of a long-term partnership between Afghanistan and the United States. The Afghans wanted this strategic partnership to ensure their protection and respect for their sovereignty, he explained.
A consultative Loya Jirga, to be attended by nearly 3,000 representatives of the people, will held in Kabul later this month to advise the government on whether or not the security pact with the US should be signed.
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