Delay in inking deal to imperil aid pledges: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): A delay in signing the bilateral security agreement (BSA) would put at risk the financial pledges made by the international community for Afghanistan, the United States said Tuesday.
“Deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year’s election would not provide the US and NATO allies with the ability to plan for a post-2014 presence. That’s of vital importance,” the State Department spokesperson said.
Jen Psaki told reporters: “It also puts at risk the pledges of NATO and other nations, financial pledges that were made at the Chicago and Tokyo conferences. And it also doesn’t give the Afghan people – and this is a very important component – the certainty that they need as well on their end, as they’re also going into an election season.”
Noting that the US had been clear that waiting until after the election was not a practical or viable option, she said they were conveying the message and were continuing to press to move forward on signing of the BSA.
Psaki said the US was not setting new deadlines, but obviously, it was something that could not wait until after the election. “It’s something we are prepared to sign and we’d like to sign and move forward on as quickly as possible. And that’s what we continue to convey.”
The fact that the Loya Jirga strongly endorsed and supported the agreement in the process that was underway this weekend provided even more reason for moving forward as quickly as possible, she argued.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren told reporters without a prompt signature it would be difficult for the US to plan for a post-2014 presence. “We have got a very good plan to withdraw all our equipment from Afghanistan.”
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