No Rush to Sign BSA, Polls on Schedule: Karzai
KABUL -If the United States does not hold out the guarantees sought by his administration, it will have to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the new Afghan government, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday. Addressing a youth conference in Kabul on elections, BSA and the peace process, he billed the security pact as an important issue for the country. If his conditions were met, the accord would be in Afghanistan’s interest, he said.
“It’s for this reason that we have been studying constantly and minutely the content of this agreement; we have been discussing it and have conveyed them our terms,” the president said, indicating he was in no rush to sign the deal. Cast-iron guarantees of peace and stability, the country’s economic development and equipping its forces, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty were listed as Kabul’s major conditions for signing the pact.
He made clear America’s demand for military bases would not be accepted if Afghanistan’s security remained under threat. “We don’t want bases that are safe but fires rage around them. We are trying to win security guarantee from the US.” Respect for the country’s sovereignty was a key demand, he reiterated, stressing American bases must not violate Afghan traditions. He wanted occupants of the bases to live like tenants in remote corners of the country.
“We have been in talks with the US under very clear circumstances and that’s why the pact signing has been delayed…we’re trying to conclude it during the current month,” he said, adding the Americans wanted to wrap it up in haste. “It’s not necessary that I myself should ink the deal; it could be done by my successor. Whoever signs it must have the nation’s support, because no government can ram its own decision down the people’s throat,” he continued. (PAN)