Afghan candidates to settle on president by month’s end

John Kerry opens second day of talks in Afghanistan aimed at preventing the fragile country from collapsing

Afghanistan’s feuding presidential candidates agreed yesterday to resolve their election dispute and said they would set an inauguration date before the end of this month.

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

“This is really an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem,” Mr Kerry said. “Both parties have agreed to stay at it and both parties have agreed to live by the outcome.”

He visited the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, and met later with the two men, the former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who have been locked in a bitter dispute over who will succeed Mr Karzai.

Mr Abdullah called the agreement “another step forward in the interests of strengthening national unity in the country, strengthening rule of law in the country and bringing hope to the people for the future of Afghanistan”.

Mr Ahmadzai said he and Mr Abdullah, whom he called a “brother and colleague”, were determined to turn turmoil in many parts of the Muslim world into a “virtuous circle” for the people of Afghanistan.

AP

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