Afghans shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration in Mehterlam, Laghman province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. Afghan police on Thursday fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to break into an American military base in the country’s east to vent their anger over this week’s Quran burnings incident. (AP/Rahmat Gul)
The White House press secretary told members of the press pool aboard Air Force One today that President Obama’s “sincere” apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a Koran-burning incident “is not appropriate to show” to reporters.
Jay Carney spoke with reporters for about 20 minutes as the presidential entourage flew to Florida for a speech on energy at the University of Miami.
Obama’s letter to Karzai that included the apology was “a lengthy, three-page letter on a host of issues, several sentences of which relate to this matter,” according to the travel pool report.
“The president, following up on a telephone conversation … wrote a long letter on a variety of issues related to our bilateral engagement, including reconciliation, including the trilateral talks that we had with Pakistan last week in Islamabad,” Carney said. “He also expressed his apology for the inadvertent burning of religious materials by American personnel in Afghanistan. It is wholly appropriate given the understandable sensitivities to this issue. His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
Carney said Karzai did not request the apology letter.