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Obama to Karzai at NATO Summit: "We still have a lot of work to do" Pool report

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from the White House pool report....

Pool was ushered into a small conference room on the first floor of the convention center, where President Obama and President Karzai of Afghanistan were seated in armchairs with a small wooden table between them. The spray lasted about seven minutes as both leaders made remarks.

Mr. Obama, seeming subdued, spoke of his visit to Afghanistan a few weeks ago.
"During that trip to Afghanistan, we were able to finalize the partnership agreement that reflects a future in which two sovereign nations ... are operating as partners to the benefit of our countries' citizens but also for the benefit of peace and security and stability" in the region, Mr. Obama said.

He thanked Mr. Karzai and his delegation for their "hard work" on the partnership agreement. "The NATO summit is going to be largely devoted to ratifying and reflecting the broad consensus that so many of our partners and ISAF members have agreed to," Mr. Obama said, "one in which we are working with" our Afghan partners "over the next several years to achieve a complete transition to Afghan" rule for Afghan security.

He said NATO will continue to provide support for Afghan security forces during this transition and said Afghan forces have made "excellent progress."

Mr Obama said the process is "also painting a vision post-2014 in which we have ended our combat role, the Afghan war as we understand it is over, but our commitment to friendship and partnership with Afghanistan continues."
"We recognize the hardship that the Afghan people have been through," Mr. Obama said.

"Both of us recognize that we still have a lot of work to do. The loss of life continues in Afghanistan. There will be hard days ahead, but we're confident that we're on the right track," Mr. Obama said.

He said the Afghan people "desperately want peace and security."
Mr. Karzai said the two leaders "had a good meeting today in which Afghanistan reaffirmed its commitment" to the transition process.

He said it's important to complete "so that Afghanistan is no longer a burden" on the international community, the U.S. and other allies.
Karzai agreed with Mr. Obama that Afghanistan is very much "looking forward to an end to this war."

he spoke of the country's desire for "self-reliance." He said it was important that the allies ensure that they help Afghanistan take "steady and strong steps" on that road.

At the end of the spray, Mr. Obama declined to answer a question about getting the needed financial support from allies for Afghanistan's security, saying there would be a press conference later.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 20, 2012 12:43 PM.

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