US rules out changes, seeks early BSA signing
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama administration on Friday refused to buy the argument of signing the bilateral security agreement (BSA) after the presidential elections in Afghanistan next year and ruled out changes in the agreed text.
"The (BSA) text that we have now agreed upon and which has been presented to Loya Jirga, we believe it represents a good-faith negotiated agreement and it is our final offer," the White House press secretary told reporters.
"It is our belief that Afghanistan needs to act before the end of the year because it is just untenable, impossible, really, to ask the United States and our allies to plan for a potential post-2014 military presence absent a BSA," Jay Carney maintained.
Insisting the United States had long made clear it needed to get a BSA done this year, Carney said it was imperative that the deal was done as soon as possible and further delay was neither practical, nor tenable.
The US needs adequate time to plan a potential military mission with its NATO allies, and the Afghans have an election coming up and say they want certainty about whether the Americans will be there to support them post-2014, both financially and with respect to training their security forces.
"So this process has been undertaken now for some time, and the bottom line is that we need to conclude the agreement with signature between our two governments as quickly as possible, and certainly by the end of this year. Failure to conclude the BSA by that point would make it impossible for the US and our allies to plan for a presence post-2014," Carney explained.
He repeatedly said President Hamid Karzai's statement that the BSA needed to be signed by the next president after the elections was not acceptable to the US. "The point is this has to be agreed to and done essentially by the end of the year.
"If you’re asking me if it’s approved and it’s going to be signed in the first week of January, that’s not the issue here. You have elections in the spring and it is simply untenable to accept the possibility that this would not be agreed upon by then or signed by then because it would prohibit us and our allies from planning anything except for the 2014 drawdown."
In response to the Loya jirga call for changes in the text, he said they had negotiated in good faith and provided the assurances that Karzai had sought. He believed the text before the jirga represented a strong agreement for both parties. We have submitted our final offer on the text and we hope the jirga will not be left to think that we are open to rewriting it."
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