The two Afghan presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai held a 90-minute long face-to-face talk on Tuesday, their first meeting after the end of an electoral impasse earlier this week.
Today’s meeting hosted by Ashraf Ghani at his residence in Darul-Aman, in Kabul’s west, was a “step forward to implement the agreements” made with the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s facilitation on Saturday.
The two candidates agreed to an overall vote audit and formation of a national unity government led by winner of the elections after the disputed votes are inspected.
Prior to the meeting on Tuesday noon, Ashraf Ghani had told the Associated Press that the two candidates would discuss the ‘national-unity-government’ set up.
Speaking on behalf of both candidates after their meeting, Ashraf Ghani’s ally Faizullah Zaki reiterated that the purpose of the meeting was to focus on implementation of the agreements, adding that both candidates vowed to avoid rhetoric statements during the auditing process.
The meeting was held in an “environment of trust and brotherhood” which Mr Zaki said it showed “commitments of the two candidates” to the agreement.
Both candidates have agreed to a one-page deal which has not been publically shared yet. Aides close to both candidates say the agreement mainly focuses on accepting the results after the audit and forming a joint government.
“The key aspect of my discussion with Abdullah will be around the legitimate government institutions in order to provide response to all perspectives, but the discussions would be conducted in line with the constitution and the decisions would be executed,” Ashraf Ghani had told AP a day earlier.
The meeting is said to “build trust” between the two camps and it was welcomed by election watchdog bodies such as the Free and Fair Election Foundation, FEFA.
Kabul resident Abdul Haseeb, said the meeting made him more optimistic about the future, urging the candidates to join hands.
“Businesses are doing better now and there is more optimism,” reacted another Kabul resident, Ahmad Khalid, who owns a shop in the capital.
A follow up meeting is scheduled at Abdullah’s residence in the coming days to further build on the talks initiated earlier this week.