Ahmadzai, Abdullah confer on vote audit, other issues

 
KABUL (Pajhwok): Presidential candidates Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Tuesday met to discuss issues of common interest, including the current political situation, their campaign managers said.
The hour-long meeting took place at 11:00 am at the residence of Ahmadzai in Kabul, a spokesman for the Change and Continuity team said. The two leading political figures met one on one, Nauman Shinwari told Pajhwok Afghan News.  
Both sides agreed to speak to the media only on the questions on which they have an identity of views and avoid raking up divisive issues. He denied the two leaders discussed the formation of a government of national unity.
Ahmadzai and Abdullah are expected to hold a second round of negotiations by the weekend, according to the spokesman, who said the two leaders conferred on technical aspects of the electoral process and ways of expediting the vote audit and ensuring transparency.
Fazil Hussain Sancharaki, Abdullah’s campaign manager, confirmed the meeting that focused on an acceptable mechanism for recounting the ballots. It was their first face-to-face contact after the US secretary of state brokered a deal between the presidential hopefuls.
The next meeting is penciled in for July 20 at Abdullah’s residence. He said details of of the government’s formation were yet to be taken up, pending the vote audit. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation.  
Under the John Kerry-brokered deal, all eight million votes cast in the July 14 runoff would be audited in the presence of national and international observers, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Earlier, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the transfer of ballot boxes from provinces to the capital Kabul had started and the process would take three weeks to complete.
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