Saturday, January 18, 2014

Obama to set up Af-Pak strategic partnership office --- Washington, Jan 18: Ahead of the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, US President Barack Obama has announced to establish an Af-Pak Strategic Partnership Office (APSPO) to oversee smooth transition and promote normalised diplomatic presence in both the countries. -- In an executive order, Obama said the APSPO has been tasked to perform the specific project of supporting executive departments and agencies in facilitating a partnership with the two South Asian countries. -- Obama said this is a temporary office and would be based in Washington, Islamabad and Kabul. It would promote security and stabilisation and transitioning to a normalised diplomatic presence in both the countries, Obama said in his executive order. -- In addition to coordinating the final drawdown of the Department of State’s civilian field operations and staff in Afghanistan, Obama said that the office would support agencies in transitioning to a partnership with the governments of the two countries in the economic, diplomatic, cultural, technology, and security fields, particularly in the areas of program management, rule of law, and program oversight. -- Meanwhile, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated that the Afghanistan Government needs to sign the bilateral security agreement as soon as possible. -- “We continue to press for the Afghan Government to sign the BSA given how important it is for planning for the United States, for our NATO allies,” she said. -- “Obviously, as time goes on, we may approach a point where we’ll need to plan for a post-2014 presence or no post-2014 presence. That has consistently been our view,” she said. - thehindubusinessline


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