Karzai to advise delaying U.S.-Afghan pact in closing speech: spokesman

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai will advise delaying a security pact with the United States until after an April election when he gives a closing speech to a grand assembly that will decide on the deal, his spokesman said on Saturday.

The United States has repeatedly said it cannot wait until the election next year for Afghan approval of the pact and it must be signed by the end of this year.

"On the last day of the Loya Jirga, in his speech, the president will explain in full details his reasons to the people, why he wants the signing of this document to be after the elections," the president's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, told Reuters.

The dispute over the timing of the pact has overshadowed the four-day meeting of elders and other leaders, known as a Loya Jirga, which is due to end on Sunday. The Loya Jirga is widely expect to reflect Karzai's wishes in its vote.

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