Kerry urges Karzai to address candidates’ concerns

 
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US Secretary of State John Kerry called President Hamid Karzai and urged him to address concerns of rival presidential candidates, following allegations of fraud that could trigger instability.
Kerry also "stressed the importance of national unity and a peaceful political process," a State Department spokesperson said.
"Secretary Kerry called Afghan President Hamid Karzai today to reaffirm US support for the Afghan election process, and to urge measures to address the concerns of individual candidates," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"He welcomed the steps taken by the Independent Electoral Commission to begin to audit ballots throughout the country and encouraged the IEC to conduct a full and thorough review that ensures the Afghan people have confidence in the integrity of the electoral process."
The statement added that "we have long stated our support for a credible, transparent and inclusive process that is broadly supported by the Afghan people and which produces a president who can govern the country.
"We call on all sides to work toward this goal and to avoid steps that undermine national unity."
The preliminary result from the election run-off has been delayed for a recount of ballots in 2,000 voting centers.
Afghan voters on June 14 chose between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.
Previously front-runner, Abdullah has boycotted the election process over what he said was "blatant fraud," while Ghani has said the election was clean and that he is more than one million votes ahead.
But with the two candidates at loggerheads, many fear the results could tip Afghanistan into street protests and uncertainty.
State department spokesperson Marie Harf said “the US does not support any individual candidate, we have long stated our support for a credible, transparent and inclusive process that is broadly supported by the Afghan people and which produces a president who can govern the country.” 
The United States call on all sides to work toward this goal and to avoid steps that undermine national unity, the spokesperson added.
Earlier, the State Department urged Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah to remain engaged with the IEC. “We know there’s a process here, and we have urged both sides to remain engaged with the electoral institutions who can ensure that all allegations of fraud are – brought to them are given careful and impartial review and adjudication,” Marie Harf said.
“There are legal mechanisms for going through, receiving, investigating, and adjudicating these complaints, and we think that’s an important process, even if it takes some time.”
“So what we’ve said is throughout this process, we want both sides to remain engaged with it, to be talking to the electoral institutions to help work this out.  We know it may take some time, though,” she said in response to a question.
Harf refrained from answering questions on electoral fraud. “Do you have any evidence yourself to back the allegations of fraud?” she was asked. “I don’t want to make a judgment one way or the other.  It’s really up to their electoral institutions to go through all of that,” she said.
mm/rm/ma

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.