Presidential runners Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Friday agreed to sort out their differences and set an inauguration date before the end of the current 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.