White House: Karzai Meeting Still On

A top adviser to President Obama told reporters Friday that the scheduled meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai is still expected to take place on May 12.

"There's no modification to that whatsoever," said National Security Adviser General James Jones.

Tensions have flared between the White House and Karzai since his remarks late last week implying that the U.S. was to blame for fraud in the 2009 Afghan election. 

Days later Karzai appeared to threaten to quit the political sphere all together and join the Taliban.

Those remarks came shortly after an unannounced visit by Mr. Obama to the region.  During that trip, the President is said to have pressured Karzai to crack down on internal corruption. 

Since making his incendiary remarks, Karzai has spoken to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to clarify what he meant.

General Jones told reporters Friday that Karzai's comments were not intended to harm the U.S.-Afghan relationship. He emphasized that the administration continues to consider Karzai "a strategic partner."

"The President has sent a letter to President Karzai, which was delivered by the ambassador, basically recommitting ourselves to the success of our operation and our partnership and looks forward to greeting him in Washington to continue that progress," General Jones said.

Friday's commitment to the May 12 meeting differs from what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in his daily briefing Tuesday, in which he suggested that the visit could be postponed. 

"We certainly would evaluate whatever continued or further remarks President Karzai makes as to whether that's constructive to have such a meeting," Gibbs said.

General Jones predicted that tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan would simmer in the next several days and weeks, as the rhetoric calms and both sides work as strategic partners. The focus, he said, remains on establishing stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"We have people who are laying their lives on the line -- both Afghans and coalition members, U.S. forces," General Jones told reporters.  "This is what we're about. We're trying to bring about peace and stability. And I think that this matter is really behind us now and I think you'll see that in the weeks ahead."