Afghan government sets conditions for signing US deal

Last Updated: Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 17:50

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set conditions for signing a security deal with the United States, including an end to military operations on Afghan homes and cooperation on peace and election processes, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Karzai will explain the conditions to a grand assembly that will advise on whether to accept the deal in a closing speech planned for tomorrow, presidential spokesman Aimal Faizy said.

After months of negotiations, Kabul and Washington this week agreed the terms of a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which will define any American military presence in Afghanistan after US-led Nato combat troops exit at the end of 2014.

The Afghan president will explain "why the end of military operations on Afghan homes, the sincere cooperation of the US in the peace process and in transparent elections are the conditions set for the Afghanistan to sign the agreement," Faizy said.

Karzai will also explain why he wants the signing of the pact to take place after the country`s elections in April, the spokesman said.

In his opening statement on Thursday, Karzai told the "loya jirga" gathering of around 2,500 chieftains, tribal elders and politicians that the painstakingly negotiated deal would not be signed until after the elections.

Afghanistan goes to the polls on April 5 to elect a successor to Karzai, who must step down after his two terms. A credible election is seen as crucial to the country`s future stability.
The jirga is to give its decision tomorrow on the BSA, the text of which was only agreed after months of tortuous negotiations with Washington.
It is widely expected to approve it, though possibly with recommendations or conditions, after which it must also be approved by the Afghan parliament before Karzai can sign it into effect.

AFP

First Published: Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 17:50

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