the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama and President Karzai of Afghanistan after meeting

9:15 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT KARZAI:  Mr. President, welcome to Afghanistan on your second visit, this time as the President of the United States of America.  I welcome you on behalf of the Afghan people and express the gratitude of our people for the help that America has given us in the past eight years, for the assistance given.  And I hope that this process will continue into the future towards a stable, strong, peaceful Afghanistan that can sustain itself, that can move forward into the future with confidence and better hopes.

We had a good discussion of the issues between our two countries, about the region, and of continued struggle against extremism and terrorism.  We will be continuing our conversation later on.  At this point, I suffice at welcoming President Barack Obama to Afghanistan with pleasure and once again expressing my gratitude to the American people for giving Afghanistan the taxpayers' money for the rebuilding and reestablishing better institutions in Afghanistan.

Welcome, Mr. President.  As always, it's so good to have you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much.  And, Mr. President, thank you for your hospitality.  It is wonderful to be back in Afghanistan.  And to the Afghan people, the American people send greetings and are encouraged by the progress that's been made.  I commented to the President that in coming into Kabul you could see the change in terms of increased electricity production, which is just one sign I think of the progress that's continued to be made.

And I want to send a strong message that the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan is going to continue.  We have seen already progress with respect to the military campaign against extremism in the region.  But we also want to continue to make progress on the civilian process of ensuring that agricultural production, energy production, good governance, rule of law, anticorruption efforts -- all these things end up resulting in a Afghanistan that is more prosperous, more secure, independent; is not subject to meddling by its neighbors; a transition will be able to occur so that more and more security efforts are made by the Afghans.

And so we very much appreciate the partnership.  And I expressed to the President that I'm going to be inviting him to visit Washington in May, and we intend to have a discussion about our long-term strategic interests between the two countries. 

Let me finally say that one of the main reasons I'm here is to just say thank you to the incredible efforts of our U.S. troops and our coalition partners.  They make tremendous sacrifices far away from home, and I want to make sure that they know how proud their Commander-in-Chief is of them.  And so I'll have an opportunity to say thank you to them later.

I'm very pleased to see that there's been some excellent efforts in terms of partnering Afghan national security forces with U.S. and coalition forces.  We think that points to the direction that all of us are interested in a day when Afghanistan is going to be able to provide for its own security but continue a long-term strategic partnership with the United States. 

So thank you very much, Mr. President, for your hospitality, and again, greetings to the Afghan people.

PRESIDENT KARZAI:  It's a pleasure and honor.  Most welcome, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

END
9:20 P.M. (Local)