Afghan presidential rivals reach unity deal after disputed vote: aides

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 20, 2014 8:53 AM

KABUL (Reuters) - The rival candidates in Afghanistan's messy election for a new president have struck a long-awaited power-sharing deal, aides said Saturday, after more than two months of tension over a vote in which each side accused the other of fraud.

The prolonged crisis has further destabilised violence-plagued Afghanistan just as the U.S.-led military coalition prepares to withdraw most foreign troops at the end in the year, leaving Afghan forces to fight the Taliban insurgency.

A spokesman for front-running candidate Ashraf Ghani said on condition of anonymity on Saturday night that "100 percent" of outstanding issues had been resolved, and both camps had initialled a power-sharing agreement.

Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, confirmed the agreement had been finalised and initialled by both sides. He said the deal would be formally signed on Sunday, the same day that the final results from a recount of the election are to be announced.

Representatives of the other presidential contender, former cabinet minister Abdullah Abdullah, could not immediately be reached late on Saturday.

(Reporting by Kay Johnson; Editing by Kevin Liffey)