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White House could cancel Karzai visit


Washington : The White House said Tuesday it would consider cancelling the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai if he continues to make controversial accusations against Western interference in the central Asian country.

Karzai is due in Washington in May, and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a meeting with President Barack Obama remained on the schedule “as of now.”

But Gibbs added: “We certainly would evaluate whatever continued or further remarks President Karzai makes, as to whether that’s constructive to have such a meeting.”

Karzai has angered Washington with a string of recent inflammatory comments accusing the United States and Western powers of orchestrating widespread electoral fraud in his country.

Karzai telephoned Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Friday to clarify his remarks, but stood by them in a media interview with the BBC on Monday.

He also threatened in a private meeting with lawmakers over the weekend to join the Taliban-led insurgency if Western powers continue interfering with his government.

“I can’t imagine that anybody in this country would find them anything other than troubling,” Gibbs said of Karzai’s remarks.

Karzai’s remarks have put pressure on Obama as he seeks to scale up the US troop presence in Afghanistan, an increasingly unpopular war with the US public.

The spat began just days after Obama visited Afghanistan for the first time last month and reportedly pressed Karzai hard to tackle corruption within his government.