News / Asia

Kerry Seeks Solution to Afghan Vote Dispute

Kerry in Kabul to Broker Political Resolutioni
X
Jeff Custer
July 11, 2014 5:41 PM
Top US diplomat country's future "hangs in the balance." VOA's Jeff Custer has more.

Top US diplomat John Kerry (left) meets with Afghan officials, including outgoing President Hamid Karzai.

Ayaz Gul

Seeking a resolution to Afghanistan's bitter election dispute, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday held separate talks with rival Afghan presidential candidates and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Discussions will continue for a second day in Kabul on Saturday, as allegations of ballot fraud rattle the country.

Abdullah Abdullah and his political rival Ashraf Ghani both claim victory in the June 14 runoff to replace the outgoing president. Preliminary results show Abdullah trailing Ghani by about one million votes, but Abdullah rejects those results and has alleged widespread fraud and ballot-box stuffing. Abdullah's supporters have been urging him to establish his own government.

The controversy has worried Afghanistan’s U.S.-led international backers as it threatens to revive deeply rooted ethnic Afghan rivalries and undermine a decade long U.S.-led international effort to politically and economically stabilize the country.

Ballot review

The U.N.'s two-week plan would review 3.5 million ballots from 8,050 polling stations, which is about 44 percent of all ballots cast.

While Ghani's camp supports the proposal, Abdullah is asking for a more far-reaching review.

U.S. officials say Kerry's mission is to convince Ghani and Abdullah to refrain from declaring victory until an audit of extensive vote fraud allegations is conducted.

Kerry told reporters after a meeting with the top U.N. representative in Kabul that “we are in a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan”, saying “the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance” a lot of work needs to be done.

In a meeting with Kerry, Ghani, a former World Bank official, said he agreed with U.S. calls for a thorough review of fraud allegations.

"Our commitment is to ensure that the election process enjoys the integrity and the legitimacy that the people of Afghanistan and the world will believe," Ghani said. "Therefore we believe in the most intensive and extensive audit possible to restore faith."

Ghani’s chief spokesman Daud Sultanzio told VOA that the presidential candidate’s meeting with Kerry was held in a "very positive and constructive environment," and that Ghani has accepted a U.N. proposal for an extensive audit of more than 8,000 polling stations, a demand Abdullah recently put forward. 

“Discussions [involved] the election issues of the second round and also [United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] proposals, including triggers for audit," he said. "These audits will be conducting audits of 8,100 polling stations which would consist of 3.5 million votes. We have already indicated our acceptance of this proposal and I hope and we invite Dr. Abdullah and his team also to join us in accepting their own proposal so we can move the process ahead and remove these uncertainties in the country.”

Abdullah spokesman Muslim Sadaat told VOA that Kerry held “only a preliminary” meeting with the presidential candidate without going into details. 

“But we are willing to meet them again and talk about a solution for the electoral deadlock," he said. "John Kerry said that [he is] here in Afghanistan to find a solution for this process. Dr. Abdullah once again talked to the U.S. secretary of state regarding the process, problems and challenges that they face, problems and challenges that were inside the [Election and Electoral Complaints] Commissions.”

Abdullah, a former foreign minister, alleges that President Karzai, the election commission and the Ghani campaign colluded to organize ballot box stuffing, charges that have been denied.

Abdullah topped the first round of presidential elections in April but did not win more than 50 percent of the vote. Ghani is leading the runoff vote by about a million votes.

Warning given

Kerry already has warned Abdullah against using extra-legal means to grab power after his running mate talked about setting up a parallel government.

The United States says it does not take sides in the election, but does support a credible transparent process.

As Kerry arrived in Kabul, dozens of protestors blocked a road near the city's international airport, with one man calling for a "political settlement" between the candidates. Another said Afghanistan needed to resolve the election internally, without Kerry's help.

Related video report by VOA's Meredith Buel, "Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisis":

Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisisi
X
July 11, 2014 10:32 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held talks in Kabul with rival Afghan presidential candidates in an effort to solve a bitter dispute that could threaten the country’s future. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
Comments
     
by: A.M.E. from: Ontario, Canada
July 11, 2014 9:00 AM
Sorry to say this but I can not help but find it amusing:
Wound up 'Uncle Sam' in his fine suit with makeup and all appears as though he was rolled out of a casket to show up at these foreign countries. When the meetings are done back in the casket he goes but not before someone rewinds him, closes the lid, and then it's off to the next stop.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid