Afghan leaders sign power-sharing deal welcomed by NATO






Kabul - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his electoral rival, Abdullah Abdullah, signed an agreement on Sunday to share power after months of political crisis.

According to a draft of the agreement seen by dpa, Abdullah would lead a newly created National Reconciliation High Council, and "members of his team would be included in the cabinet."



 The draft reads that the reconciliation council will be an independent entity, funded by the government.
In the meantime, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the deal between Ghani and Abdullah in a statement.
Stoltenberg said that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Taliban's increased attacks, "it is more important than ever that all Afghan leaders unite and work towards enduring peace in Afghanistan."
Stoltenberg asked the Taliban militants to live up to their commitments in reducing violence, taking part in intra-Afghan talks, and making real compromises for lasting peace.
In February, the Taliban signed an agreement with the US that was intended to pave the way for a gradual withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan in return for anti-terrorism assurances and the start of talks with the Afghan government.
India has also welcomed the deal, calling for an immediate ceasefire and assistance "to the people of Afghanistan to deal with the humanitarian situation arising from Covid-19."
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who was among the participants at the signing ceremony, hoped the deal would bring Afghanistan closer to the long wished-for peace.
Abdullah's spokesman Omid Maisam told dpa that Abdullah would have a 50-per-cent share in the government including in the ministries, independent directorates, and among provincial representatives.
Maisam said Abdullah would introduce his candidates for the ministries and provinces. If any of his picks are in the future sacked from the government, then a new candidate would be nominated again by Abdullah.
Abdullah is a long-time rival of Ghani. A dispute after the previous elections in 2014 led to him being named in a new post as the country's chief executive while Ghani became president.
In February, the election commission announced that Ghani had won the latest presidential elections on September 28 with over 50 per cent of the vote. Abdullah was announced as runner-up with over 39 per cent.
Abdullah protested the results, alleging vote-rigging, and putting the country's politics into disarray. He went as far as staging an alternate inauguration to Ghani's earlier this year, meaning that both leaders were sworn in as president at parallel ceremonies on the same day in March.
Stoltenberg said that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Taliban's increased attacks, "it is more important than ever that all Afghan leaders unite and work towards enduring peace in Afghanistan."
Stoltenberg has asked the Taliban militants to live up to their commitments in reducing violence, taking part in intra-Afghan talks and make real compromises for lasting peace.

Sunday, May 17th 2020
(dpa) By Qiam Noori, dpa
           


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