President Karzai: Fight against Corruption Requires Earnest and Sincere Cooperation of the International Community, Particularly of the United States

February 19, 2013- President Hamid Karzai met with Senator Robert Bob Menendez, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

At the meeting held today late morning in the Presidential Palace, the two sides discussed various issues including Afghan-US strategic partnership, the peace process, fight against corruption and the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan.

President Karzai said that Afghanistan needs earnest and sincere cooperation of the international community, particularly of the United States in its fight against corruption.

The President called awarding of contracts to relatives and affiliates of Afghan senior officials, a major source of corruption, underscoring that the United States should avoid it.

He added that contracts awarded to the senior officials’ relatives and affiliates would weaken Afghanistan’s system, making the anti-corruption campaign more susceptible to problems.

President Karzai described the peace process important for Afghanistan, emphasizing on sincere cooperation from Pakistan, the United States and other countries for success of this key goal.

Talking on the presidential elections, the President said that the Afghan government is determined to hold free, transparent and fair elections in the country.

President Karzai also stressed on non-interference by foreign countries in the future elections, seeking US cooperation in this respect.

Subsequently, Senator Robert Menendez, who is newly elected as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that because of Afghanistan’s importance, he began his first visit from here.

Pointing to the successful talks that the Presidents of Afghanistan and the United States had in Washington, Senator Menendez underscored that his country would not abandon Afghanistan and that the security agreement is in the interest of the two countries.