President Karzai and President Obama Meet in Chicago

Mandel Ngan/AFP/GettyImages
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press
Photo: Bilateral Meeting--Presidents Karzai and Obama talking 1
Photo: Bilateral Meeting--Presidents Karzai and Obama talking 2

May 22, 2012—President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama met before the start of NATO Summit on Sunday in Chicago where they discussed a variety of issues including the Afghan-US strategic relationship, the NATO Summit, the security transition, Afghanistan beyond 2014 and the Afghan peace process.

In welcoming President Karzai and his accompanying delegation to Chicago, President Obama said at a joint press conference, “During my visit to Kabul recently,… we were able to finalize the Strategic Partnership Agreement that reflects a future in which two sovereign nations—the United States and Afghanistan—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 and around the world.”

Addressing President Obama, President Karzai said, “Afghanistan reaffirmed its commitment to the transition process and to the completion of it in 2013, and the completion of withdrawal of our partners in 2014, so that Afghanistan is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and our other allies.”

President Obama added, “And so the Strategic Partnership Agreement and this NATO Summit are all part of a shared vision that we have in which Afghanistan is able to transition from decades of war to a transformational decade of peace and stability and development.”

Underscoring the friendship between the two countries, President Obama also noted, the people of Afghanistan desperately want peace, security and development, and so long as they’re reflecting that resilience and hope for a better future, they will have a friend in the United States of America.

President Karzai agreed saying, “Afghanistan, indeed, Mr. President, as you very rightly put it, is looking forward to an end to this war, and a transformational decade in which Afghanistan will be working further for institution building and the development of sounder governance in the country and a better economy, where the Afghans will be taking steady steps towards self-reliance in all aspects of life, that Afghanistan will be collecting its own revenues. But in the meantime, that the world community, in particular the United States and our allies in NATO and ISAF, will be with us to make sure that we take steady and strong steps and are back while you are making those steps towards 2024, when Afghanistan will be largely defending itself and providing for itself.”

Pointing to the strategic partnership, President Karzai said, the partnership that was signed a few weeks ago in Kabul has turned a new page in Afghan-US relations and the new page is a page of two sovereign countries working together for the mutual interests -- peace and security and in all other areas of concentration.