President Karzai to US Defense Secretary: Any Bilateral Relations Must Be Based on the Principle of Respect to the National Sovereignty of States

US Secretary of Defense: The People of Afghanistan Deserve Respect and Dignity, and the United States Honors Their Sovereignty

 

March 10, 2013- President Hamid Karzai met on Sunday evening with Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense at the Presidential Palace.

Discussions were made at the meeting by the two sides on various issues of interest including the US Special Forces and operations by their non-official Afghan colleagues, withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghan towns and villages, civilian casualties, bilateral security agreement, full transfer of Bagram prison to Afghan control and the peace process.

President Karzai first congratulated Chuck Hagel for his election as US Secretary of Defense by the Congress, calling him a right choice for the position and wishing him success.

US Defense Secretary thanked President Karzai for his warm reception and added that he had good and long-standing relationship with him, wishing that their relations would further strengthen in an environment of mutual trust.

Pointing to the recent incident in which an Afghan student was illegally detained and taken away by US Special Forces’ non-formal Afghan colleagues from Kandahar University, the President called the act, a breach of Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

President Karzai underscored that the foreign forces had to understand sensitivities of the people of Afghanistan.

The President clarified that any bilateral relationship had to be based on the principle of respect to the sovereignty of states, while taking into account national interests of the two countries.

Accepting mistakes made in the past years, US Defense Secretary said that his country respected the national sovereignty of Afghanistan.

He stressed that with experience of the past blunders, the two sides had to make efforts more than ever in further solidifying mutual relationship and trust. 

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made clear that the people of Afghanistan deserved respect and dignity, adding that the United States would stand by their side.