Kerry ties post-2014 aid to poll transparency
Testifying before a Senate committee during his confirmation hearing, Kerry told lawmakers he had made his views in this regard clear to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who visited Washington last month.
“I think President Karzai knows -- I've said this personally to him -- having an election that is acceptable to international observers and standards will be critical to our ability to have the kind of transition we want to have and to have confidence that the government that succeeds in 2014 has legitimacy,” Kerry said.
“If it doesn't have legitimacy, if we don't succeed in that effort, it is going to be very, very difficult to convince the American people and convince our allies in ISAF and beyond to stay engaged in this effort if they're not willing to provide for themselves with respect to that,” he added.
The senator recalled his discussions with President Karzai in the previous election, where there were serious questions about the propriety of the process.
“We have to sort of strike a compromise about it. I don't think there'll be room for a compromise in the aftermath here. So this is a very important initiative,” the secretary-designate remarked.
Kerry said the US was working to ensure fair elections in Afghanistan. “On the elections, there is a group within the American initiative, within our effort in Kabul, working very hard on the sort of rules of the road for the election and working with the Afghan election commission.”
Kerry also ruled out any change in the red lines for peace talks with the Taliban. “We have made it clear … if there is a negotiation with the Taliban, one of the conditions is they have to give up any association with al-Qaida, they'll commit to nonviolence, but most importantly, they must commit to respect the constitution of Afghanistan...”
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