KABUL (Monitoring Desk): Presidential runners Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Friday agreed to set aside their differences by signing a unity government with US backing before the end of this month.
Flanked by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Jan Kubis, the squabbling candidates announced signing the deal on forming a national unity government on completion of the ongoing ballot audit.
Kerry, who held two rounds of talks with Abdullah and Ahmadzai and paid a courtesy call on President Hamid Karzai, hailed the agreement as giant stride toward averting possible political chaos.
“This is really an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem. Both parties have agreed to stay at it and live by the outcome,” remarked the visiting secretary of state, who landed in Kabul on Thursday evening on an unannounced visit.
A former World Bank economist, Ahmadzai said he and Abdullah, whom he called a “brother,” were ready to end the vicious circle of turmoil in Afghanistan and work together for the people’s prosperity.
He said: “We trust each other and will work together to discharge this national duty and obligation for every Afghan. We will form a government of national unity. What unites us is much greater than what divided us on the campaign trail.”
Ex-foreign minister Abdullah told reporters the two sides had inked the accord in the interest of national unity and a better future for the people. He insisted they had resolved their differences to stabilise the country and measure up to popular aspirations.
Last night, Kerry urged the candidates to speed up implementation of the agreement on the vote audit and formation of a national unity government.
While stressing the urgency of stepping up the vote audit and enforcing the framework agreement, he told the two hopefuls the world needed clarity about Afghanistan’s future.
On July 12, Abdullah and Ahmadzai had reached agreement on ending the electoral impasse and forming a government of national unity — thanks to hectic diplomatic efforts by the United States and the United Nations.
Following is the text of the agreement:
In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate
Joint Declaration of the Electoral Teams regarding the Lawful Finalization of the Second Round of the Presidential Elections of 1393 and the Formation of a Government of National Unity:
There is no doubt that our beloved country is in one of the most politically sensitive periods of its history. Coming through this sensitive period successfully requires a strong and legitimate government organized on the basis of political consensus and a strong collective determination.
As a result of a shared understanding of the sensitivity of the current situation, the general belief of the political stratum of our society is that there is a need to build a broad national consensus to carry out political reforms and to create the fundamental transformation in a time of change. As centers of focus of the will of a clear majority of the nation, the campaign teams from the second round of the elections are performing their moral and national duty in the formation of a national unity government.
With a joint belief in the above-mentioned points and the vital necessity of national cooperation, we, the signers of this document, representing the campaign teams, have decided to present the following points to the noble nation of Afghanistan:
1) Recognition and respect for the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and complying with the framework of its provisions and rules will be considered the cornerstone of all measures and reforms now and in the future. In the same manner, the preservation of the achievements of the jihad and resistance of the people of Afghanistan and the dynamic democratic experience of the past thirteen years will be a guiding principle in the realization of a national reform program.
2) The two parties remain bound and committed to the entirety of the political framework agreed to on the 21st of Saratan, 1393 (July 12, 2014) (reference attached), including: the formation of a government of national unity; the immediate establishment by Presidential decree of the position of Government CEO; convening within two years a Loya Jirga to consider establishing the position of an Executive Prime Minister; the appointment of senior officials according to agreed principles and merit; and reforms, including of the electoral system. Agreement on the political framework was reached with support from the international partners of our country as the basis of the political agreement based on the constitution of Afghanistan in order to support the implementation of the reform and transformation program, and they are committed to translating the substance of the political framework into a detailed and enduring agreement and sign it as soon as possible. Additionally, we recognize as our main priorities cooperation for implementing the technical affairs of the agreement and defining a single national program for reform and formation of the national unity government.
3) Just as in the case of the technical track, where the two sides established working teams to practically move the audit process forward based on the United Nations criteria including audit, recount, and invalidation to ensure transparency and restore credibility to the process by continuously working within the audit process and accepting its outcome, the two parties affirm they are committed to sincerely cooperate on the political track as well. With this aim in mind, the two parties assign a joint commission comprised of members of both teams to finalize a timeline for the electoral process, agree on the date for the inauguration of the new president, with the goal of doing so by the second week of Sunbola 1393 (end of August), and draw up the detailed text of the political agreement in light of the constitution and the political framework agreement reached on 21st of Saratan 1393 (July 12, 2014).