UK & World News

  • 8 August 2014, 14:29

Afghanistan Leaders To End Election Dispute

Afghanistan's feuding presidential candidates say they will resolve their dispute, form a unity government and name a new leader.

It comes after an audit of votes to decide the winner of the election, which was marred by allegations of polling fraud.

"Today, myself, our team, and Dr (Ashraf) Ghani and his team have taken another step forward in the interests of strengthening national unity in the country... and also to bring hope for the better future for the people of Afghanistan," Abdullah Abdullah said.

An inauguration date is likely to be set before the end of August.

The breakthrough came as US Secretary of State John Kerry opened a second day of talks in Afghanistan aimed at preventing the country from collapsing into political chaos after the disputed elections.

The US believes the September 4 Nato summit would be an opportunity for the eventual election winner to present himself to the alliance and introduce his new cabinet.

Mr Abdullah is a former cabinet minister, while Dr Ghani is a former finance minister.

Results from the June 14 runoff are being audited in a process that Mr Kerry brokered last month.

Representatives of both candidates are at odds over charges of widespread problems with the vote.

Preliminary results showed Dr Ghani well ahead of Mr Abdullah, but both sides claimed irregularities and fraud.

Officials travelling with Mr Kerry said he would stress the importance of the candidates looking at the "big picture" as the audit continues and not getting bogged down in debates over minor discrepancies that are unlikely to affect the final results.

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