Meeting Afghan presidential candidates, UN political chief urges unity, pledges support

News conference hosted by UNAMA with the two candidates in the country’s Presidential election, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on 8 August 2014. Photo: Fardin Waezi / UNAMA

11 September 2014 – In Kabul today, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met with Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and underscored the world body’s call for a successful conclusion to the country’s election process.

“I was here to reinforce the message to the two candidates, on behalf of the Secretary-General, to please move forward,” Mr. Feltman said after his separate meetings with the two candidates.

“And if there are things we can do to help them, we’re willing to do it; but this, obviously, is an Afghanistan decision about Afghanistan’s future.”

In a statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mr. Feltman said that he planned to report back to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that in both cases, Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah reaffirmed their commitment to try to get to a political agreement on a national unity government.

The Under-Secretary-General stated that it is important, from the UN perspective, that the two candidates proceed with the political agreement for the government of national unity as “this is the best way to move forward,” in addition to following through on their public commitments to accept the audit results.

The main phase of the UN-supervised audit of the 14 June presidential run-off election was completed on 4 September and the announcement of updated results is expected shortly. The exercise, run by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC), has been unprecedented in scale and scope with more than 22,000 ballot boxes being individually opened and examined by electoral authorities and representatives of the candidates.

Mr. Feltman stressed that the UN intends to remain an active and supportive partner of Afghanistan through its political and security transitions and well beyond. “We want to find new opportunities to help support the vision of a unified, secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.


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