BSA Can Be Signed by Karzai’s Successor: Kerry
KABUL – US Secretary of State John Kerry, insisting on the early conclusion of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), has said the deal could be inked either by President Hamid Karzai or his successor. Speaking to ABC television on Sunday, Kerry hinted for the first time at some flexibility in the Obama administration’s stance on the issue and said the agreement could be signed even by President Karzai’s successor after the April 2014 elections.
Refusing to give a clear cut-off date, the secretary said: “I believe that Hamid Karzai, either he or his successor will sign this. Now, I think he needs to sign this… And the reason he needs to sign it is because of the planning that is necessary…” The BSA should be in place as soon as possible because more than 50 nations had been involved in the ongoing mission and they all had budgets and planning requirements, he argued, asking Karzai to recognise the importance of signing the pact.
He replied in the negative when asked if the Afghan leader had to sign the accord by January. “We have an agreement that’s been negotiated and he has said to me personally, and as recently as a day ago, reiterated through his minister that the language is fine.”
With the consultative Loya Jirga having endorsed the BSA, Karzai wanted guarantees of a halt to raids on civilian homes and US support for the peace process, the diplomat said, hoping that the two sides would still achieve a breakthrough. “I believe that it’s possible to work this through and I don’t think, uh, you know, we’ve reached the point of throwing up our hands…” Kerry remarked. (PAN)