Kerry, Karzai extend Afghan talks
Oct 12, 2013 / 8:11 am
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry extended talks Saturday with President Hamid Karzai on a bilateral security agreement with the United States, and while work remains to be done a deal could be struck by the end of the day, a presidential spokesman said.
Aimal Faizi said some contentious issues remain to be finalized. Talks that began a year ago have been deadlocked over sovereignty issues and the safety of Afghan citizens at the hands of American and allied troops.
"There is still some work to do on the document. Things are not yet finalized. It will be concluded hopefully this evening. Although it is not certain," Faizi said.
U.S. officials said it was hoped that the talks will reach an agreement in principle whose details can be finalized later.
"Secretary Kerry sees an opening to continue making headway on issues including security and sovereignty this evening and wants to leave Kabul with as many issues resolved as possible to set up conditions for finalizing an agreement," said one U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the negotiations so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kerry told U.S. Embassy staff after the meetings recessed that "we've had a terrific day."
"We're going back to the palace to enjoy dinner with the president and more importantly we're going to see if we can make a little more progress, which is what we have been trying to do all day long," he added.
"If this thing can come together, this will put the Taliban on their heels," he added. "This will send a message to the community of nations that Afghanistan's future is being defined in a way that is achievable."
Kerry began negotiations with Karzai in the morning, the second day of talks after he arrived late Friday. The U.S. wants a deal by the end of the month, while Karzai wants assurances over sovereignty that have deadlocked negotiations in the past year.
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