The Loya Jirga, a gathering of thousands of representatives of the Afghan people in accordance with a proud tradition, has powerfully backed the Bilateral Security Agreement we have been negotiating with the Afghan government. Very significantly, the Loya Jirga also urged that the BSA should be signed before the end of the year. I can't imagine a more compelling affirmation from the Afghan people themselves of their commitment to a long term partnership with the United States and our international partners.
The critical next step must be to get the BSA signed in short order, and put into motion an agreement which will lay a firm foundation for our two countries to continue working together toward a more secure and prosperous future for Afghanistan. Afghans are rightly taking the lead in providing for their own peace and security. We remain committed to supporting those efforts, and look forward to signing an agreement that will enable us to do so.