Strategic deal with Australia likely next month
KABUL (PAN): A strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and Australia could be signed at the upcoming NATO summit, due in Chicago next month, President Karzai’s office indicated on Wednesday.
Karzai and visiting Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, at a meeting in Kabul, evinced their interest in forging the agreement as soon as possible.
Smith hoped the draft, handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, would be finalised soon. The pact was expected to be signed by the presidents of the two countries in Chicago, he said.
He referred to Australia’s interest in long-term cooperation with Afghanistan and held out assurances that the international community would not leave the Afghans alone beyond 2014.
Briefing the president on his trip to southern provinces of Afghanistan, the visiting minister said the security situation had improved in Uruzgan, which was prepared for the third phase of transition.
Karzai thanked Australia for its assistance to Afghanistan and said his government would review the draft strategic partnership document as quickly as possible so that it could be finalised for signing.
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