Sunday, 13 October 2013

U.S. Secretary of State makes unannounced visit to Kabul for talks with Karzai

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he leaves, after completing his trip to Malaysia, from Subang TUDM outside of Kuala Lumpur, October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on Friday to advance negotiations with President Hamid Karzai on a bilateral security pact, weeks before an October 31 deadline for an agreement.
The deal will determine the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014.
U.S. officials, speaking en route to Kabul, emphasized that Kerry's visit was not about trying to close a deal on a Bilateral Security Agreement. Instead he would seek to build momentum for negotiators to reach a deal after 11 months of talks, they said.
"This is not about Secretary Kerry coming in to close a deal," a senior State Department official told reporters. "This is really about us building momentum for the negotiators and helping establish conditions for success of the negotiations going forward."

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