Kerry calls for stepped-up vote audit
KABUL (Pajhwok): US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the presidential candidates to speed implementation of the agreement on the vote audit and formation of a national unity government, officials said on Friday.
President Barrack Obama’s point man on Kabul, Kerry arrived in Kabul on Thursday evening to help resolve issues related to the disputed presidential election and shore up the electoral deal he brokered last month.
Following his unannounced arrival in the capital, the secretary met Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai at the US Embassy last night. He also called on President Hamid Karzai and was scheduled to meet the runners for a second round of talks later on Friday.
A source privy to the talks quoted Kerry as stressing the urgency of stepping up the vote audit and enforcing the framework agreement. He told the feuding presidential hopefuls the world needed clarity about Afghanistan’s future.
A day earlier, the State Department spokeswoman told reporters the secretary would meet the election contenders to clear the logjam over the counting of votes, as differences between the two continued to emerge.
“The secretary will follow-up on his July visit to Kabul and his subsequent phone calls to the candidates, encouraging both to help accelerate the audit process which they are both participating in, and make progress on the details of the political framework that they have agreed to,” Jen Psaki said.
On July 12, Abdullah and Ahmadzai reached agreement on ending the electoral impasse and forming a government of national unity -- thanks to hectic diplomatic efforts by the United States and the United Nations.
The deadlock was triggered by Abdullah’s boycott of the electoral institutions over what he called industrial-scale fraud in the runoff election.
President Hamid Karzai said a day earlier presidential election results must be announced within the agreed timeline. Karzai issued the call during a meeting with UNAMA head Ján Kubiš early noon.
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