Pompeo congratulates Afghan President Ghani, Abdullah for a power-sharing deal

Michael Pompeo

Washington DC (USA)

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Sunday (local time) called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah to congratulate the two leaders for signing a power-sharing agreement and ending a bitter months-long feud that plunged the Asian country into a political crisis.
"Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo spoke today with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the new Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Secretary Pompeo congratulated the two leaders for reaching an agreement on inclusive governance for Afghanistan," the State Department said in a statement.

"Secretary Pompeo noted that he regretted the time lost during the political impasse. He reiterated that the priority for the United States remains a political settlement to end the conflict and welcomed the commitment by the two leaders to act immediately in support of prompt entry into intra-Afghan negotiations," it read.

According to the deal, Abdullah will lead the National Reconciliation High Council and members of his team will be included in the Cabinet, while Ghani will head the government as the President.
The political tension emerged as a consequence of the disputed presidential election last year, the result of which was announced in February.

As a result, the two leaders, Ghani and Abdullah, held inauguration ceremonies on the same day in their adjacent respective palaces. Ghani was declared president by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission after earning a slightly higher percentage than Abdullah, who had disputed the results of last September's election.

In March, both Ghani and Abdullah had formed parallel governments, further deepening the crisis.
The deal comes after the US expressed its frustration over the standoff between the two leaders.
India also welcomed the political agreement concluded by the leadership in Kabul.
"India has consistently supported inclusive governance, national unity, strong institutions, constitutional order, rights of all sections of society and the territorial integrity of Afghanistan," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

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