Kerry: Afghan deal a ‘moment of extraordinary statesmanship’

 

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLet's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy The Memo: Democrats struggle to find the strongest swing-state candidate 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster MORE is praising a power-sharing deal reached Saturday by Afghan presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.

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“This was a moment of extraordinary statesmanship,” Kerry said in a statement on Sunday. “These two men have put the people of Afghanistan first, and they've ensured that the first peaceful democratic transition in the history of their country begins with national unity.”

“We've had our own contentious elections and witnessed their aftermath. I've lived some of them. But if my recent visits to Kabul and the hours upon hours on the phone with these two men have taught me anything, it's how invested Afghanistan is in this historic effort,” he added.

The process to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai has been rife with accusations of voter fraud.

Earlier this summer, Kerry announced that both candidates had agreed to abide by the results of the "largest, most comprehensive audit" possible, following heavy personal lobbying by Kerry and President Obama. Under the deal, international supervisors were slated to examine every vote cast in the runoff election, and both candidates agreed to form a national unity government if they prevail.

Ghani will be named president under Saturday’s agreement.

“In the days to come, Afghanistan has an enormous opportunity to grow stronger from this recent moment of testing,” Kerry said.

“Elections are not the end. They must be the beginning, where Afghanistan and its people move forward on a reform agenda and make improvements to the electoral process,” he added.