US hopes for fair vote count, BSA signing

 
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States, United Nations, Canada and NATO on Saturday congratulated the people of Afghanistan, in particular the security forces, on the successful and peaceful completion of the presidential election.
With all eyes now fixed on the vote count, the United States, United Nations, Canada and NATO said they looked forward to working with the new Afghan President.
“The United States will stand with the Afghan people now and in the future and looks forward to signing the bilateral security agreement in the period ahead,” Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Noting that in the coming weeks, the work of Afghan electoral bodies would be particularly important, Kerry said it was essential the process of tallying votes, adjudicating complaints and finalising the results be transparent and accountable and that the candidates and other stakeholders work with the electoral commissions and respect their conclusions.
“Millions of Afghan men and women once again went to the polls today to choose their next president, laying the groundwork for the first democratic transition in Afghanistan's history,” Kerry said adding that these brave Afghans from all walks of life again defied the threat of violence and went to the ballot box and voted because they want to set the course for a more inclusive, prosperous, and stable future.
Whatever the result, the election marks another milestone in Afghanistan's progress toward democracy and a peaceful transfer of executive leadership, the Pentagon said. “It also highlights the growing competence and capability of Afghan National Security Forces, who once again took the lead in making safe their fellow citizens' access to the ballot box,” the Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, said.
The Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, commends Afghan security force leaders and their troops for these efforts. “He looks forward to working with the next Afghan administration as we bring our combat role to a conclusion, begin our new post-2014 assistance mission, and build a strong and enduring security relationship,” Kirby said.
Congratulating people of Afghanistan for exercising their right to vote in the second round of the presidential election on Saturday, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said the participation of men and women across the country demonstrates, once again, the commitment of the Afghan people to shape the future of their country and to reject violence and intimidation.
Ban commended the performance of the Afghan security forces and all those involved in supporting the conduct of the vote, including the Independent Electoral Commission and thousands of Afghan observers. “It is the task now of the Afghan electoral institutions to tally and adjudicate votes in an impartial, transparent and timely manner,” said a UN statement.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, congratulates the Afghan people on a successful presidential runoff election. “As we await the final results, Canada calls upon both candidates and their supporters to respect the electoral process by reporting documented irregularities and by allowing election authorities to carry out their mandates in a transparent and effective manner,” he said.
Commending the Independent Election Commission for its work in organizing the vote, Baird said the vote marks an important step on the road to a more peaceful, more prosperous future for Afghanistan, and we look forward to the release of the final results.
Describing this as another historical day for Afghanistan, the NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said once again Afghan security forces and institutions have done an outstanding job despite the challenges. They planned and led all security operations before and during the run off, he said.
Rasmussen commended the Afghan people for their commitment to democracy, and the Afghan security forces and institutions for their continued dedication and professionalism in securing the electoral process.
“It is essential for the future of Afghanistan that the election process is now brought to its formal conclusion in a credible, transparent and inclusive way. I call on all stakeholders to play a constructive role in this respect. It is also essential that any allegations of electoral irregularities are addressed through the established institutional mechanisms, and that both candidates respect the final result,” the NATO Secretary General said.
Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the weekend’s presidential runoff election marks a milestone in Afghanistan’s first-ever democratic transition of power.
“Afghans voting under the threat of violence represents another setback for the Taliban.  After years stuck with the Karzai government, Afghans now have a fresh start and a new chance to fight corruption,” Royce said.
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