Get BSA signed in short order, says Kerry
WASHINGTON (PAN): Welcoming the approval of bilateral security agreement (BSA) by the four-day Loya Jirga, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sought to sign the BSA quickly so that planning for a post-2104 American presence in Afghanistan begins as soon as possible.
“The critical next step must be to get the BSA signed in short order, and put into motion an agreement which will lay a firm foundation for our two countries to continue working together toward a more secure and prosperous future for Afghanistan,” Kerry said.
Afghans were rightly taking the lead in providing for their own peace and security, as the US remained committed to supporting those efforts and looked forward to signing an agreement that would enable them to do so, the secretary said in a statement.
Kerry added the Loya Jirga, a gathering of thousands of representatives of the Afghan people, in accordance with a proud tradition, had powerfully backed the BSA which the two countries had been negotiating for quite some time.
“Very significantly, the Loya Jirga also urged that the BSA should be signed before the end of the year. I can't imagine a more compelling affirmation from the Afghan people themselves of their commitment to a long term partnership with the United States and our international partners,” Kerry concluded.
Also on Sunday, President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said he would consult with jirga and US leaders on amendments to the BSA before signing the vital security pact. “We want the US to be sincere in implementing this important deal,” the president told the concluding session of the tribal assembly in Kabul.
He identified peace and transparent elections as the main objectives behind the accord. “Can we achieve this (goal) in a month’s time? If I sign this agreement and peace continues to elude the country, who will be held responsible?” Karzai asked after most of the 50 committees supported inking of the BSA before the April elections.
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