Obama, Karzai note progress on long-term deal: White House

WASHINGTON Fri Mar 9, 2012 2:07am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New York September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in New York September 20, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai noted progress on Thursday in long-stalled efforts to broker an agreement guiding U.S.-Afghan relations after most foreign troops withdraw, the White House said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the two leaders spoke in a video call.

"The leaders noted progress toward concluding a strategic partnership that reinforces Afghan sovereignty while addressing the practical requirements of transition," Carney said, referring to the deal that would lay out U.S. involvement in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014, when most foreign combat troops are due to leave.

The bilateral deal has been held up for months by disagreement over Karzai's demands for restrictions to military night raids - which for many Afghans epitomize the problems a decade-long foreign military presence has brought - and Afghan's demands they be given control of detention centers.

In a statement, Karzai's office said the two leaders discussed progress that had been made in talks about handing Afghans control of a military prison on NATO's Bagram air base, where U.S. soldiers' burning of copies of the Koran last month triggered protests across Afghanistan.

The Koran burning and the violence that followed, including a spate of attacks on Western soldiers, tested brittle ties between the Obama and Karzai governments and underscored the challenges that the West faces even as it moves to withdraw.

The Obama administration has been hoping to conclude the partnership deal, which is expected to include an agreement in principle to keep some sort of U.S. military force in Afghanistan beyond 2014, before a NATO summit that will be held in Chicago in May.

The two leaders also discussed efforts to broker peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The Obama administration's reconciliation initiative has become the centerpiece of its political strategy and is seen as its best bet for ensuring that widespread violence does not erupt anew when Western forces go home.

Karzai also spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his office said.

(Reporting by Laura Macinnis, Missy Ryan and Alister Bull; Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Editing by Vicki Allen)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Hydrogen-Powered

Hydrogen-Powered

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Korea Boat Tragedy

Korea Boat Tragedy

Hundreds still missing in deadly Korea ferry sinking.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis .  Full Article 

Xi's Master Plan

Xi's Master Plan

China's Xi purging corrupt officials to put own men in place - sources.  Full Article 

Mobile Tariff Up

Mobile Tariff Up

RComm to raise mobile call tariff by up to 20 percent.  Full Article 

Spanish Football

Spanish Football

Bale stunner claims King's Cup win for Real over Barca.  Full Article 

Taking Charge

Taking Charge

Afghan women stand to be counted as West begins to disengage.  Full Article 

Sparking Boom

Sparking Boom

BlackBerry's meltdown sparks start-up boom in Canada's Silicon Valley.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage