Karzai: Peace needed before U.S. security deal
Afghanistan’s president says he won’t immediately sign a security deal with the United States
Afghanistan’s president says he won’t immediately sign a security deal with the United States, ignoring a recommendation by an assembly of Afghan elders and leaders that he do so by the end of the year.
Hamid Karzai spoke after the Loya Jirga issued its statement Sunday. He argued Afghanistan needed more time to ensure that the United States was committed to peace in the country.
Although he did not repeat his earlier preference that he would wait until the April elections, he reiterated the need for more time. He did not say when he would sign.
The chairman of the 2,500-member national consultative council approved the deal and asked that it be signed by the end of 2013.
The Loya Jirga was convened to decide on the pact, but Karzai cast the entire process in doubt by saying he would
refuse to sign it until after a presidential election scheduled for April 2014. The United States has repeatedly said it cannot wait beyond the end of this year.
(With Reuters and AFP)