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Cameron plea over Afghan government

David Cameron has urged both of Afghanistan's presidential candidates to work towards the "prize" of a democratic unity government in time for the Nato summit in Wales next month.

The Prime Minister called Dr Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah yesterday and urged them to stick with a process outlined by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The pair topped a first round of elections in April but, following claims of electoral fraud, a victor was not declared following a second round run-off in June.

Following Mr Cameron's calls, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "He emphasised the enormous prize at stake for the Afghan people - to secure their democratic future - and that he hoped that the process could be completed by the Nato summit.

"The Prime Minister said that the summit represented an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in Afghanistan over the last 10 years and to look at how Nato allies could work with the new government to support Afghanistan in the future.

"Both Dr Abdullah and Dr Ghani welcomed the Prime Minister's support and thanked him for the UK's ongoing commitment to Afghanistan."

The election drove into stalemate after Dr Abdullah refused to accept the outcome of a run-off which preliminary results suggested he lost by a million votes to rival Dr Ghani - alleging it was the result of massive electoral fraud.

While still Defence Secretary in July, Philip Hammond - now Foreign Secretary - suggested the stand-off could see British forces being withdrawn from Afghanistan by October, instead of the end of the year as planned.

Earlier this month, the feuding candidates agreed to resolve their election dispute and said they would set the inauguration before the end of August.


From Belfast Telegraph