Obama leaves Afghanistan without meeting Karzai

US President Barack Obama paid a short visit to Afghanistan but returned home without meeting his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai due to differences over the venue, an official statement said Monday.

IANS| Last Updated: May 26, 2014, 15:48 PM IST

Kabul: US President Barack Obama paid a short visit to Afghanistan but returned home without meeting his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai due to differences over the venue, an official statement said Monday.

Obama returned home after spending a few hours Sunday with US troops at Bagram airbase, 50 km north of Kabul, Xinhua reported.

The Afghan Presidential Palace, in a statement released here, said that Karzai had refused to meet Obama at Bagram.

"US embassy to Afghanistan had conveyed the wish of President Obama for meeting President Hamid Karzai in Bagram military base, but the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said his government is ready to welcome the US president in Arg and does not want to go to Bagram," the statement said.

The Presidential Palace, in another statement, said that Obama phoned Karzai late Sunday to congratulate him over successfully holding presidential and provincial council elections April 5.

He also expressed hope for the successful holding of the presidential runoff, slated for June 14.

The two leaders, during the telephone conversation, also discussed the peace process in Afghanistan.

"During the telephone conversation, President Hamid Karzai told his US counterpart that the swearing-in ceremony of the new elected president will be held Aug 2 and is hopeful that a delegation from the US would attend the function," the statement said.