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Statement By Chairman Kerry Following The Bilateral Luncheon With President Karzai Of Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC –Following today’s luncheon with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry released the following statement: 

“I am pleased to welcome President Karzai and his ministers to Congress and to Washington.  President Karzai has brought much of his Cabinet with him, including both veteran ministers and solid, newly-installed technocrats. In October, I had the opportunity to meet with President Karzai over five days in Kabul, and that visit proved very useful for both of our countries.  Today, we continue the constructive exchange of views that we have been having ever since. 

“We just finished an important private meeting and lunch where my Senate colleagues and I had an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership for the future.  We made clear to President Karzai that the United States is committed to Afghanistan and the region for the long term.  We discussed a range of issues including security, governance, development, and reintegration that will feature prominently in the coming weeks. We look forward to continuing to work with President Karzai and his team to advance our common goals in Afghanistan.

“The visit of President Karzai and his team is an opportunity for us to get our joint strategy back on track.  At various points over the past eight years, the leadership of both countries have permitted our cooperation to slip.  We can’t let this happen again; the stakes are far too high, for Afghans and Americans alike.”