News / Asia

Kerry Heads to Brussels for NATO Talks on Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Dec. 2, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Dec. 2, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Brussels for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that is expected to focus on delays to an agreement that could keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to postpone signing that agreement until after next April's election in his country.

This meeting of NATO foreign ministers follows a gathering of Afghan elders that endorsed a Bilateral Security Agreement - or BSA.  State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says securing that deal will help safeguard the country's future.

"We've made our position clear. And so have the Afghan people. Signing the BSA soon is the path forward, as we've said many times, to sustaining a partnership between the United States and Afghanistan, to support Afghans in achieving lasting peace, security, and development," said Psaki.

Karzai negotiated the final language of this deal with Kerry. But since it was endorsed by thousands of Afghan elders, Karzai has pushed to delay signing the agreement, adding conditions that include the release of all Afghan prisoners from U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Analysts say postponing the deal could endanger billions of dollars in development aid and foreign investment. Psaki says the deal is crucial to military planning for troops that may remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014 when the NATO combat mission there ends.

"Deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year's election is not viable," she said. "It would not provide Afghans with the certainty that they deserve regarding their future in the critical months leading to the elections, nor would it provide the United States and NATO allies the clarity necessary for a potential post-2014 military presence."

After the NATO meeting in Brussels, Kerry travels to Moldova for talks on its joining the European Union and to Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid