President clings to his position on security deal
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Hamid Karzai, during a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at his office on Sunday, once again refused to budge from his position on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington.
A statement from the Presidential Palace in Kabul said President Karzai held talks with the visiting foreign minister, who arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit, at his office
At the meeting, Karzai reiterated he would not sign the deal until peace talks with the Taliban were revived and raids on Afghan homes by foreign troops stopped.
The statement said the German foreign minister convoyed his country’s message to the president regarding the US-Afghanistan security agreement.
Steinmeier said signing of the deal would help accomplish the international community’s non-combat mission in Afghanistan.
The two leaders agreed on further strengthening relations between their countries. Karzai appreciated German cooperation with Afghanistan and hailed Germany as a steadfast friend.
The visiting dignitary renewed his country’s commitment to developing Afghanistan. He was satisfied with preparations for the April presidential and provincial council elections, the statement said.
Karzai has said his successor should sign the accord. Washington has responded by threatening a complete withdrawal unless Karzai signs up.
Steinmeier touched down in Mazar-i-Sharif on a surprise visit in the morning for the first time since his reappointment as foreign minister after elections last year.
"We have not achieved everything that we had hoped for," Steinmeier told troops from his country. He pledged continued support for Afghanistan beyond this year's withdrawal of foreign forces.
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